The American filmmaker, Martin Scorsese, has called this Friday to preserve the art "in a place of honor and esteem" within the culture. The director has shown his concern for the cinema and its future in the climate of "contempt" that surrounds him and for a technology that ends up using the artist. In his speech on the delivery of Princess of Asturias Awards, Scorsese has accepted the award in the name "of the freedom to find the tranquility and the focus to not get carried away by all those current absurd categories or by trivial judgments, qualification systems and fashionable pronouncements". "What's remarkable about cinema for me is that it's always the present, it's always now, for me Buñuel's films are livelier and more current than the last text message you receive, if you know how to use a mobile phone. Peter Bogdanovich has said that there is no old movie: it's just a movie you have not seen. " This is the entire speech of Guillermoprieto to pick up the award in Oviedo:
"Majesties, Distinguished Laureates, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you for this great honor.
I feel in this moment humility and awe. I know that it is customary to express such emotions in these circumstances, but believe me, I feel humility and awe. Especially for being in the company of the other winners and, of course, in the company of previous winners. And for stepping on the land that gave us Cervantes, Goya, Unamuno, Picasso, Lorca and Luis Buñuel, one of the greatest artists in the history of cinema. How could I not feel that way?
This is an honor for the cinema. Therefore, I accept this award in the name of cinema and with great gratitude and gratitude to all the artists who preceded me and made possible the work that I have done. Because there is not a single film or a single filmmaker that exists in isolation. We have all been immersed in this great continuous conversation, questioning each other, responding to each other and provoking each other with our work along extraordinary distances not only in space but also in time.
The remarkable thing about cinema for me is that it is always the present. It is always now. For me, Buñuel's films are more alive and are more current than the last text message you receive, if you know how to use a mobile phone. Peter Bogdanovich has said that there is no old movie: it's just a movie you have not seen.
But for me the most exciting of these times is when I see a film by a young or new filmmaker and I am excited or transported by what would be called a "cinematic gesture" of his creation. It could be a juxtaposition from one plane to another, it could be a composition, it could be a camera movement. I know I'm excited because I realize that the filmmaker felt compelled to do it that way. They had to tell that particular story with those particular images. That's the most precious and inspiring thing for me, because that's how it was in my case: I could not rest until I made that movie, that way. Otherwise, it just does not make sense.
It did not have much to do with the "business" of cinema. Yes we wanted to enter the business, but almost only to get the money to make the movies. In fact, I never felt like a professional, really. I still do not feel like one.
But now, to the young filmmakers, what a time! How many opportunities they have! You can make a movie with anything. All the tools are there and they are affordable. You can make a movie using one of those mobile phone cameras. When I was younger, it was quite different. The same goes for the history of cinema. Most of the film history of the whole world, of almost every decade, is accessible in these incredible times. It was not like that in the 50s of the last century.
But, despite these opportunities, I am worried. Concerned about the cinema's past, yes, and very concerned about its future.
I realize that, in the practical aspects of society, art is always so fragile. It is criticized, marginalized and often treated as if it were not essential for life. Of course, this could be said of all the arts. There is always someone trying to put the art and the artist in their place. "It's a luxury. It's a fun. " But art resists. And when everything returns to its course, the art is still there, still standing, still present, regardless of popular influences and fashions. Art with capital letters works outside of context. The work stands by itself, remains the present, and ultimately, also the need to create new work in response to that.
However, I am concerned about the environment, the climate that surrounds the cinema today. On the one hand, we now have what we have always had: the constant contempt and marginalization of cinema. Either it's just escapism, or, if it's worth it, it's just because it exposes a problem, a message.
On the other hand, wherever you look today, twenty-four hours a day, moving images flood our lives. I know that the cinema itself is made up of moving images, but now the cinema has become just a current within a huge torrent of moving images: the commercials, the episodes of a TV series, a video of cats or dogs, educational videos, reality shows, Lawrence of Arabia, reports and so on. Everything has become what they now call "content", a word that I really do not like. And the serious debate about the cinema, critical judgment – particularly in my country – has been nipped in the bud.
Now that cinema is continually devaluing, and at the same time technology allows anyone to "make a movie," what does that mean for young people? They may need to express themselves in a movie, but what kind of inspiration do they get? What will be the result? Are the values of our world eroding in such a way that we can not be sure if they are inspired by art and by the truth? Or simply for the commercial? Where do they go to get that valuable inspiration?
Who supports art and artists and, what is more important, the impulse to create art that is worth it alone? How do we change this poisonous climate that surrounds us for one in which a young artist can follow the light that he carries inside, that spark, that soul … his elf?
It is vital to keep the art in a place of honor and esteem in our culture. It is even more important to respect the freedom of choice, thought and action that leads to the creation of art. And to give young people the confidence and the ability to trace their own path in life so that they are able to not let themselves be carried away by all the slogans and commercial hooks; so they can see the path that leads to their own inner light. And that may lead to the creation of art with capital letters.
That's where the real fight begins; the fight for the spirit. As in Don Quixote de Cervantes. Of course, he fought against the windmills. It has been said that windmills may have represented the technology of their time. So, to preserve the spirit, he fought against that technology. And with that image in mind, one of the great and lasting images of our civilization, we can find a way to conquer our own technology so that artists can use that technology instead of the opposite, where technology uses the artist.
So I accept this award in the name of freedom and revelation: the freedom to find tranquility and focus so as not to get carried away by all those absurd current categories, or by trivial judgments, qualification systems and fashionable pronouncements, to be able to see all the way that leads to the revelation of what can not be named, but only to feel and -for those of us who find grace- express through art.