Whenever possible I will try and balance the broader posts with small, practical steps that individuals or communities can take.
So, your domestic cinema is being subsumed by Harry Potter and Saw films. What can we do?
Be discerning. Choose where you spend your money carefully.
In Egypt we should boycott films that want to infantalize you. What would be left to watch, I hear you cry. Fair point. So we need to change what's on offer. So next time there's some incredible Brazilian film that's got amazing reviews and is clearly never going to be screened, talk to the cinema, question their decision. Write an email, make a phone call. From newspapers to governments to primary schools - a handful of letters can be incredibly persuasive. We don't have to be passive consumers that chew through whatever is dumped in front of us.
Start a Facebook group insisting X film is distributed in your country. Name the people that can make the decisions, publish their email addresses. Old-guard capitalists are terrified of Facebook - they still don't really know what it is. Say you're going to launch a vicious Twitter campaign you could probably get them to play an extended run of Waterworld. Do it quickly, before the world finally realises that it wasn't actually the Gods of Social Media that we have to thank for our revolutions.
The cinema exhibitor, generally, has no ideological agenda - they exist to sell popcorn. That's where they make their money (American audiences enjoy a 600% mark-up). So they are malleable.
If you're in Europe / America etc - don't just go and see the Hangover 5 and stew in self-loathing. You are actively participating in the destruction of your own cultural fabric. Your vote basically counts for shit if you're not in Ohio so at least make your money count. If you think cinema is in a fine state, then ignore me. But take note that 2011 will see Hollywood release 27 sequels - that's one fifth of the films getting a wide release this year. Merde, surely?
If you really really need to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland just download it. You need this application and then you can get the film. That film looked like a bland nightmare in 3D but it grossed over $1bn - roughly the GDP of Djibouti.
These actions are all small and relatively obvious. But that's the point. The real action is a mental shift. For too long we have thought that we don't have a choice about what is on our screens. But through small, concentrated actions and the building of a community consciousness we can change the way the cinemas work. We have to re-imagine ourselves as constructive partners in a cultural process rather than mindless consumers of unhealthy spectacle.
Now, if you're thinking this is all elitist crap written by someone who does his writing in English then it is, in fact, you that's the elitist. If you think that modern mass culture is what the masses really want then you weren't paying attention from January 25th to February 11th. Yes, entertainment has a role to play - but if we don't have the freedom of choice it is a cultural slavery.
Anything less than firm resistance to the prolonged attack on our sensibilities we have endured for so long would be counter-revolutionary.