Will we still go to the cinema in 2050 or will it come to us? Will we even still need our eyes to enjoy the seventh art? Through a series of thematic articles, the Journal du Geek invites you to discover a possible future world in 2050.
Welcome to the future – or rather, a future. The Geek’s Journal offers you a science-fictional reflection exercise based on six thematic axes, on six visions of our world as it may be in thirty years – in 2050. This series of chapters each composed of a fictional narrative part and an informative part, is not meant to simply portray what we hope or fear. It is not exhaustive either and will deliberately miss out on certain so-called “future” subjects. Its humble objective is to bring a new perspective – sometimes a little crazy but more or less plausible – and to project ourselves, with the help of experts on the subjects discussed, on the future evolution of important technological, cultural and societal issues. After a first section devoted to space, this time we are looking at the future of cinema. You are ready ? Follow the guide !
FICTION. V calls me in my connected headphones. Our robotic science course has just finished. My old 3D printer model is slowly reconstructing the parts of the prosthesis that I must manage to reassemble myself before tomorrow. V is all excited. He just saw that a retro party Avengers, remastered as a Triple H experience (haptic holographic homage), is scheduled this evening at the grand mk2 Paris, one of the last large multiplex cinemas that once swarmed in the capital. He’s a movie buff on his fingertips. He never stops telling me about the latest news in Chinese animation and utopian “micro-movies” made by New Zealand neo-hippies. Her favorite genre? Indian films in “space cinema”, which tirelessly try to achieve the new Tom Cruise on the Moon or on Mars, three decades later.
Tired by my morning round trip for my compulsory PE session in high school, I admit that I was considering keeping a low profile tonight. I hope I can assemble the robotic arm soon enough in front of one or two episodes of Raised By Wolves – an old sci-fi series as I like it – before attacking my nocturnal “crypto-mining” to fuel my pocket money. I pretend to V that I don’t have enough money to go there and then rent the necessary haptic gear there and that I don’t know if I would have time to finish our homework for the day before.
V is rich and, thanks to his latest generation virtual printer, he will certainly have already returned his mounted prosthesis, in a 360 ° digital version, before going to the cinema session. V, always pragmatic, suggests that I pay for a ticket according to the “remote projection” package. As he wisely reminds me, it will allow me to see films in superb definition, a VR headset on my nose and interact with others by voice. This will not be retransmitted in V’s eye implants, normally supplied with the haptic outfit, on site, so as not to disturb other spectators. V will take advantage of his new Neuralink implant to receive my words directly into his brain and transcribe his thoughts into responses. Finally, I accept: after all, it’s been so long since there have been any superhero movies in theaters.
REALITY. “Will the brain be the ultimate place where the cinema will remain, when there will be no theater or screen? “ asks Olivier Asselin, film teacher at the University of Montreal in an edifying article in the latest issue of the review The exploded cinema (Journal of Film Studies). “The collective cinematographic experience (in theaters) will not disappear because it is fundamental in my opinion, but it will be exacerbated (or) change definition”, answers Guillaume Sourir, director of the issue in question but also of the IRCAV (Institute for research on cinema and audiovisual) in Paris. According to him, the cinema of 2050 will be above all multiple.
It will present itself both in an extremely immersive form that its Quebecois counterpart calls ” neural cinema “. The latter exempts itself from the room, the big screen and the film through a neural implant – like what the start-up begins to develop, slowly but surely. Neuralink Elon Musk. In the coming years, the distance between the film object and our brain will blur: “We will gradually move from the screen to connected glasses then to ocular implants which will electrically simulate our pupil to neural implants”, why not, accompanied by haptic outfits way Ready Player One. To maintain his social function, despite such an individualization of his practice, Guillaume Sulé even imagines being able to “Interact directly with other spectators to deliberate” or to have “Instant access to the director’s comments” in full session. Truth be told, with any luck, anyone can do this in the middle of a Netflix viewing session using Twitter.
“The fundamental uses of cinema – why we consume it, its social function – will be preserved but the fashions and uses will take other forms, explains the researcher. Cinema will pass from a canonical experience to a fluid experience ” without real borders. Therefore, one could imagine, for example, replay any movie in front of holographic projections of its set and characters as part of a new kind of rave party. Traditional cinema, indoors, on the big screen and on film, will only coexist with these new approaches. “For some people, it will remain essential to see films on the big screen, with a perfect finish, canonically on 35 millimeters”, guesses Guillaume Sourir. And according to him, the multiplexes – like those of the UGC or mk2 channels – will multiply (as is already the case now if in the debacle of the post-COVID-19 blockbusters) and will end up cohabiting with only a few independent themed theaters.
Besides the medium itself, what about the film industry in 2050? Will Hollywood remain firmly planted on its pedestal? “It’s a fairly sustainable system (and) a great recycling machine, so it will be difficult to stop Disney’s monopoly, for example”, emphasizes Guillaume Sgez. But according to him, it is quite possible that the model of the American blockbuster as we know it today will be seriously competed in the future by other currents, which would escape the Hollywood industry, such as animation. Japanese (or Chinese), Norwegian series or TV-novelas. Especially since progress in machine translation will greatly facilitate the availability of subtitles. Already, in november 2018, Facebook France’s artificial intelligence research laboratory presented a so-called unsupervised translation engine with a unique contextual dimension. In short, three decades from now, “The cinema will become a kind of platform from which we can have access to multiple experiences” whatever the origin or the language of the spectator.