Thursday, December 7, 2023
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To Each His Own Cinema Review

Some of the biggest and most influential names of cinema, coming together to bring us some short vignettes on what cinema really means to them. It worries me that something like this could go so wrong. To Each His Own Cinema may feature the personal reflections of some of our favourite directors, but the actual value the collection of short movies on display really comes under fire almost immediately. What can these directors offer together that they can’t offer alone? It’s interesting to see how big a disaster the final product really is.

It’s nice to see that if you have any experience with the many directors featured throughout this film, you can more or less pinpoint their inclusion almost instantly. Lynch’s framing and the utilisation of sound sets him out far above the rest, one of the few times where the least narrow-minded and straight-forward direction is the most welcome and entertaining. My differences with Lynch and his direction fall to the wayside entirely when he’s the only one out of the thirty-two “pinnacles of cinema” to feature anything that could be considered interesting.

The meanings behind most of the films on display are rather bland, typical, and overlapping with one another. A few stand-out though, particularly a short riff on The Purple Rose of Cairo from Gus Van Sant. It stands out because I recognised the source material, and the idea of the theatre being a place where dreams come true, not because of any of its artistic merits, though. Billie August provides us the one, expected political hammering, a botched message that could’ve been rather strong had it been performed with an ounce of intrigue. There are many more featured throughout, but none feel like they’re noteworthy or even the slightest bit intriguing. Elia Suleiman borders on boring, but I suppose his is the most humorous of them all.

Worst of all is that I watched this solely to view Cronenberg’s entry, but I immediately realised I’d seen it before. Still, his entry is one of the better moments of the film, a glimmer of light that stands alongside Lynch and Lars von Trier. It feels odd, praising filmmakers who, for the most part, I don’t particularly enjoy. Lars von Trier in particular, who shows a rather comedic, dark segment. Still, these few moments throughout really don’t provide enough balance to a great number of filmmakers who think that the most original thing they could showcase would be audience members reacting to a movie screen. You’d think some of the greatest minds of filmmaking could come together and present something that offered up more than how they think audiences react to their movies.

Honestly, it’s rather sad that nearly every one of these depictions shows a cinema as either desolate or decrepit, almost entirely empty for any of the films it shows. Perhaps the unison these individuals have about the death of cinema is rather poignant. It’s just rather ironic that this film would do the opposite of getting people interested or invested in cinema. Boring moments from start to finish, with relatively few interesting moments. What few interesting or original moments there are, can easily be found on YouTube. A great number of these shorts are absolutely awful. There’s no real reason to slog through a two-hour, botched experiment.

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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