Martin Scorsese wants young filmmakers to make cinema over “content”: “It’s like candy”

Martin Scorsese has encouraged young filmmakers to “reinvent” cinema with technology, emphasising the difference between film experiences and “content”.

The director discussed the future of cinema during a Screen Talk with host Edgar Wright on Saturday (October 7) at the BFI’s London Film Festival. The talk encompassed Scorsese’s entire career, from his 1974 breakthrough film Mean Streets to his latest collaboration with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers Of The Flower Moon.

When asked about his views on the film industry today, after having frequently denounced franchise films like Marvel in the past, Scorsese said its up to filmmakers and audiences to decide what the future of cinema will be.


“I didn’t want to be the last line of defence,” Scorsese joked. “I honestly think it’s thrown back now on all of you. I really mean this – I don’t know where cinema is going to go. Why does it have to be the same as it was for the past 90-100 years? It doesn’t. Do we prefer cinema from the last 90-100 years? I do, but I’m old.”

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese. CREDIT: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Apple TV+

The director said young people “are going to see the world around them in a different way” which, combined with new technology, will “reinvent” the cinema landscape.

“What does one shot mean now? I don’t know any more,” Scorsese said. “I don’t think it means anything…. It’s really up to everybody. You’re all in the process of a period of reinventing it. It’s quite an extraordinary time and a lot of it is due to technology.

“That’s the freedom you have now. So much freedom, I think you have to rethink what you want to say and how you want to say it.”

Scorsese explained that while he’s “afraid” franchise films will “take over theatres”, he hopes there’ll be room for “serious” films on the big screen in the future.


“Ideally, what I hope is that – I hesitate to use the word – ‘serious’ films could still be made with this new technology and this new world we’re a part of,” Scorsese added. “So that can be enjoyed by an audience of this size on the big screen. That’s the key.”

Killers Of The Flower Moon
Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers Of The Flower Moon’. CREDIT: Apple TV+

When Wright suggested that Scorsese still wants people to be film directors and not “content providers”, the latter outlined the difference.

“Content is something you eat and throw away,” Scorsese said. “Content is like candy.”

He added: “I like having the TV on all the time, when I was growing up that’s the way it was…. just have it on and have the sound down, that’s content. It’s almost like radio before television. The radio is on all the time, there’s a voice going on in the background. Or when people keep the TV on to hear a voice. That’s all that is. But if you want to have an experience that can enrich your life, it’s different.”

Following a viral TikTok video with his daughter Francesca the day prior, Scorsese also reiterated how his 1982 film The King Of Comedy was considered a flop upon its release.

“The key thing is when the film opened, people expected a combination of De Niro and Scorsese that’s not this,” the director explained. “It was soundly rejected.”

Killers Of The Flower Moon is released in cinemas from October 20, 2023.