The celluloid cannot hold. Did you see who Alexis kissed last night?

CRISIS IS “THE STATE OF THINGS” in European cinema, to quote the title of Wim Wenders’ obituary to his own Hollywood utopias. The crisis is no mere wandering ghost, it’s staring us straight in the face with the deadened eyes of shut-down movie theaters. European film, which is not alone in this crisis, can’t tell a story anymore. It has no energy, no spirit, no wit, no urgency.

This sort of paralysis has plagued film periodically, but in the past it has cured itself with the new, for instance with Italian neorealism in the mid ’40s, the French “new wave” at the end of the ’50s, the “new German film” in the ’70s. The present crisis, however, lies deeper than previous esthetic or creative impasses. In a period of seven years European cinemas have lost 400 million viewers, and it doesn’t look as if they are ever going to be able to woo even a fraction of this public back. Statistics show that

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