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Drama Movies

October 5 2015 Drama Movies Newsletter

"I don't take the position that the films today are terrible though I've been misquoted on that front. They're different because of the new digital technology and they probably shouldn't even be called films anymore. I do see the kind of film making that existed in the '70s as taking place in long form television...I'm talking about series that develop character and story over eight or ten episodes. I do find them much more suitable to me as a viewer than what plays at my local cinema." Director William Friedkin

Friedkin was speaking on the difference between the film industry in the 1970s, when he made "The French Connection", and the film industry today. In the interview conducted this past August, Friedkin also made the point that comic-book franchises now form the bulk of American cinema.

To understand why this has occured, I read Edward Jay Epstein's book "The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies" over the weekend. Epstein looks at the movie-going habits of Americans, highlighting the fact that in 1948, about 65% of the population went to a movie theater each week. As of 2008, that number had dropped to 6%. Producers and distributors now spend millions of dollars trying to create an audience for each film that is released. It turns out the easiest demographic to target is teen-age boys, hence the franchise, comic-book mentality.

Epstein also makes the same point about television that Friedkin does. Now that feature films have become action and fantasy oriented, adult, character-driven dramas have moved to the small screen. Epstein also includes chapters on the financing of independent films, and the hurdles producers of adult dramas must overcome in order to make their films.

The documentary, "Seduced and Abandoned" is an illustration of the time-consuming and bewildering process of independent film financing. Featuring director/writer James Toback ("The Gambler") and Alec Baldwin, the film follows the two men at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Their goal: to secure financing for a remake of "Last Tango in Paris". The documentary illustrates how important overseas markets have become to American producers, and how difficult it is to get a project off the ground.

Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.

A Five Star Life Film Review
Irene Lorenzi stays in the world's most luxurious hotels, and gets paid to do so. But as Irene approaches middle-age, she begins to question what true luxury and freedom entail. "A Five Star Life" is directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi.


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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor

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