Denis Villeneuve and Rebecca Ferguson on the set of Dune: Part 2, talking between takes.

Denis Villeneuve’s Latest Take on What Makes Good Cinema Sure Is Something

Look, we’re all entitled to our opinions, and when it comes to the topic of cinema, a filmmaker as accomplished as Denis Villeneuve is certainly entitled to his. But Villeneuve’s latest take is so severe, it is a good reminder that what he says is just an opinion, not cinematic fact.

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In a recent interview with The Times of London, the Dune: Part Two director took dialogue to task of all things, going as far as to say that movies have been corrupted by television, and that television and theatre are where dialogue belongs, whereas cinema is for “image and sound.”

The Times writes:

“Frankly, I hate dialogue,” he says, laughing, which is a fun thing for one of the screenwriters of Dune: Part Two to say. “Dialogue is for theatre and television. I don’t remember movies because of a good line, I remember movies because of a strong image. I’m not interested in dialogue at all. Pure image and sound, that is the power of cinema, but it is something not obvious when you watch movies today. Movies have been corrupted by television.” Because TV had that golden age and execs thought films should copy its success? “Exactly.”

Now, let’s be realistic here; Villeneuve’s beliefs on this matter are probably far more complex than this quote suggests—and that he says it “laughing” indicates he knows it’s a wild thing to say—but even if that is the case, it’s his responsibility to communicate that, and he’s done a very poor job of it here either way.

Again, it’s fine if Villeneuve hates dialogue, and it’s fine if he doesn’t remember movies because of a piece of dialogue, but to say that dialogue-heavy movies are an objectively negative contribution to the medium that came by way of television’s “corruption” of cinema (which itself isn’t an entirely baseless claim, but that’s another conversation to be had) suggests to me a level of insecurity on the matter more than anything.

But hey, you do you, Villeneuve. I’m going to do me and continue to enjoy such “corrupted” movies as Past Lives, The Holdovers, and 12 Angry Men like the uncultured ignoramus that I am.

(featured image: Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.)


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