The vertical integration of the biggest video-on-demand service providers is reaching its peak during the lockdown, due to carelessness. In the midst of the pandemic, the channels and distribution models of the competition - no, I am not referring to movie theaters, those had probably succumbed to streaming in 2018 already, but to and others - have not been able to respond to what the new normal produces: isolated consumers familiar with their favourite streaming series actors and provided with unlimited Internet and a lot of boredom.

I care a lot

I Care a Lot is a 2020 American black comedy thriller film written and directed by Jonathan Blakeson. The film’s casting may be familiar to subscribers to streaming services. In I Care a Lot a Thelma and Louise-like couple is chased by the Russian mafia who drive cars like the ones used by the FBI - irrelevant whether Russian mafia or the American president’s security - the female protagonists find poetic justice just when they believed they had achieved it all.

Metaphor of the insatiable consumption

I Care a Lot, premiered in September 2020 at the Toronto International Film Festival and is available via streaming since February ‘19, allows a reading seemingly far fetched where the protagonist Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) becomes in the metaphor of what streaming platforms have achieved: build an empire in which they have taken custody of the viewer and locked him in an ecosystem from which he cannot find a way out. In the contest for spectators, there are only two greats left who will destroy everything around them to seize the gems, stripping the public of any self-determination.

Vast and pernicious 2

In I Care a Lot the character of Marla Grayson has managed to consolidate a model of an elderly custody company in the midst of a legal system and with access to confidential information that allows her to identify the wealthy, isolated but self-sufficient elderly, to declare them incapable of fending for themselves, assuming custody and locking them up in an asylum to seize all their property and restrict their freedom of choice. Just like Netflix and Amazon Prime seem to have achieved.

To make things short

In short: the cinemas must reopen and the regional cultural programs promoted, otherwise, the people who have worked in these areas will have to devote themselves to other activities leaving little options.

Festivals and feasts

Lars Henrik Gass, director of the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, calls for a larger budget for festivals dedicated to cinema as art. Cinema would continue to be treated as a commercial product held at supposedly international mega-events - such as the Berlinale - that invite the rest of the world to decorate and highlight the mediocre German industry. According to Gass, it would rather be the small festivals, scattered throughout the country, where the cinephiles of tomorrow would be educated who appreciate innovation and integrate it into their experience and work.

The film industry - very concerned about guaranteeing the state subsidy, perpetuating mediocrity and aesthetic leveling in order to ensure sales - would not be in a position to provide innovations. Gass supports the saying for the situation in Germany with figures that reveal the trend of concentration of state budgets for mega-events to the detriment of small festivals.

Recover or re-boot

The pandemic has called into question the meaning of mega-events, disabling them not only as shows that attract tourism but also as exchange platforms between those who, in the shadow of the industry, seek to know different aesthetics.

What to do meanwhile? Try and alternatives to watch contemporary and classic author cinema from around the world. The 67th Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen starts on the 1st of May 2021.