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Martin Scorsese says immersive screenings can distract from a film’s quality

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Martin Scorsese has expressed his concerns about immersive and 3D screenings, and how they can distract from a film’s quality.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Oscar-winning director questioned if films that make use of immersive formats like 4DX – which incorporate 3D visuals, moving chairs, water and smoke – can still hold up without those elements.

“I was concerned that if a film needs more than just projection on a screen, if it needs chairs that bounce around or certain scents that are used in the theatre, or more technical elements besides the image on the screen, what would that film look like without those elements?” he said.

“Would it still be a film? There are major elements of it missing.”

Martin Scorsese on 11 January 2024 in New York City. CREDIT: Getty/Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for National Board of Review

Scorsese previously experimented with 3D for 2011’s Hugo, and he described it as “liberating” experience at the time. However, the filmmaker has since suggested that films that incorporate 3D may not work as well for viewers if they don’t see them in that format.

“When you see films that were shot in 3D, but you see them flat – well there’s an entire arena of information that’s missing,” he said. “And the flat versus the 3D films don’t necessarily work as well. And so it’s almost like they are not films any more.”

Scorsese has expressed his concerns about modern cinema on various occasions in recent years. In 2019, he famously likened Marvel movies to theme parks, prompting a debate about the artistic value of blockbusters.

The director’s latest film, Killers Of The Flower Moon, is nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor.

Now with nine Best Director nods over the course of his career, Scorsese has overtaken Steven Spielberg to become the most Oscar-nominated living director.

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