The View from Here

by Tilda Swinton


The View from Here is a poem and ode to the “wild wide screen” which Swinton has written especially for the magazine 'Sight & Sound' April 2020 issue.


In it she expresses her belief in cinema’s longevity, her faith in film’s transcendence of national boundaries and her hope that the “mighty streaming services” will be “galvanised to restore, support or build great big screens”.

Cinema is limitless. And she isn’t going anywhere


These things we know


We have over a century’s worth of bounty from all corners of this globe to savour and learn from, fresh as the dayThere’s no such thing as a foreign film  There’s no such thing as an old film  The idea of any national cinema is missing the point


And the wide, wide screen can hold every possible thing we throw at it


We have filmmakers everywhere – of every possible description – with films in their heads and hearts and fingers

All on their way

Some of them are producers’ PAs or cine-passionate stand-by props boys or even film students

Some of them just sold us our coffee or bus ticket or insurance They have cameras in their back pockets, every one They have a wide-eyed intergalactic audience open to and eager for new fellowships and new horizons


Hooray for the multiplex and the spandex zam-fests and whoosh- athons, the gargantuan one-stop big-top bunker-cathedrals, the cardboard nosebag of unspeakably toxic phosphorescent worms and the quadruple-flavoured American ice cream 


We leave our world and gallivant, ricochet’d with mythic abandon in the deafening surround-sound pinball playpen


We love it From time to time.

And Meanwhile

We love other stuff too, stuff of all shapes and sizes, stuff of the planet and all of us on it

We want to see ourselves and others and recognise how magnificently, mind-glowingly similar/different we are

And

We want to travel, through time and space and into other people’s shoes and behind their eyes And we like not knowing what’s going to happen

And so

We would love more screens to see all this on: big rickety ones currently in great old ramshackle cine-palaces now furniture showrooms, dinky ones in niche rooms with comfy seats, inflatable ones in parks, sheets tied to two broomsticks in village halls

We would love all the above and more 

We want to watch film together in the dark

We want to watch things we’ve never heard of in languages we cannot understand 

We want new faces, new places, new shapes, new sizes, new stories, new rhythms

We want to get lost

And We want long immersions We have the stamina We have the lust Trained up by the box-set: imagine the binge cinema three-day plunge…  We love all this, too

And

Some time, imagine this: We get to know a film at the end of our bed – even in our hand, even on our wrist on the Tube – and when it comes to town, we LOVE to see it live large Like knowing an album inside out and just craving the band’s live gig

WE WOULD LOVE THIS

And so

We would very much love the mighty streaming services to feel galvanised to restore, support or build great big screens from the beginning to the end of the territory their reach touches: to make good their stated commitment to filmmakers interested in making films for the wild, wide screen, the experience of communal exhibition and the honest diversity of the canon of cinema history.

Wouldn’t that be grand?

WON’T that be grand and right?

And


We would love to stop squabbling over the idea that cinema cannot be more than one thing

Because then we can also stop whispering and mouthing about cinema as if she is a fragile invalid that needs quiet, vacant and sterile surroundings lest she break, an endangered and diminishing ice floe that has any limits whatsoever

When, in fact, she simply doesn’t. End of

Cinema rocks and rolls

And bounces and stretches

We love cinema for her elasticity, her inventiveness, her resilience, her limber and undauntable roots and her eternally supersonic evolution 

As it says on the bottom of the studio credit roll: throughout the universe in perpetuity

Vive la différence

Film Forever

Onwards.


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