After his first critical and commercial success, director Marty Reed battles to get his next film made his way, staying true to his vision. Faced with today’s rapidly changing cinema industry, its sex scandals and the dominance of online platforms that are changing the visual language, the production process and the way films are consumed, Marty is forced to re-evaluate his position as filmmaker and value as an artist.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
During an interview with a film critic, director Martin answers to the famous question: “is cinema dead?”. He expresses his worries for the change cinema is having today.
Due to the dominance of the online platforms films are not considered as art anymore but as a mere consumer product.
The day after, Martin, is rehearsing a scene of his new film with the two lead actors. A phone call interrupts him. It’s David, an old producer friend of his, insisting in inviting him for dinner.
Although a bit upset, Martin accepts the invitation and carries on with the rehearsal.
In the scene, the two protagonists argue about an upcoming film project and the production problems that inevitably will undermine their relationship.
In the meantime, his wife Camille meets with Li, an old friend and head of a big investment group. Remembering the old days, she asks him to invest in Martin’s film she is producing. Li hesitates but then promises her to help.
The same evening Martin and Camille are visiting David and meet his new future wife Greta. David tries to convince Martin to let him produce his film, but Martin, recalling a past collaboration, wants to proceed his way. He’s afraid David will take total control of the film.
The next day Martin meets his dear friend Paul, film editor and colleague. He asks him to edit his film, but Paul has changed. He works now for the biggest online platform in the world and had abandoned his old spirit of “cinema purist”, embracing the new philosophy of online content and the new forms of cinema.
At home Martin works on the script and Camille gives him the latest update on the production.
At the Berlin Film Festival, Camille and Martin meet Michael, a ruthless and tough sales agent that promises them to get onboard of the project.
Back home, Martin carries on with the pre-production when Camille receives a very promising email from Michael where he’s looking forward to receiving more material and continue the collaboration. Martin remains skeptical about Michael’s interest, but Camille tries to persuade him to be more flexible in his artistic choices in order to overcome the financial difficulties of the film.
During the Cannes Film Festival, they meet David. He insists he wants to produce Martin’s film. Martin though is adamant and Camille’s suggestions are in vain.
The next day there’s the second meeting with Michael. This time he appears completely distracted and shows no interest in the project. He has no intention to carry on with Martin’s film and ironically suggests to turn the feature film project into an online TV series. The discussion gets worse and Martin accuses Michael to be an idiot with no clue about the art of filmmaking.
Martin visits the film market and meets several sales agents. Everybody is more concern about the commercial aspects of the project and they look at his film as a mere product to sell. To Martin all this seems a bad dream. He exits the market sad and disappointed.
In the meantime Camille, short of options, goes and visits David without telling Martin. She offers herself as mediator. Her goal is to produce the film. David though wants something in return. He writes her a check for the entire budget of the film and puts it in her underpants showing what he really wants from her. She is shocked and disgusted and flees the apartment.
The same evening, Martin and Camille are ready for a red carpet premiere. Outside the Palais, they walk along the Croisette. Camille is still visible upset from the meeting with David but says nothing. Short after Martin receives a phone call. It’s David asking him to urgently meet. Camille finds an excuse to go home.
David is in his apartment, alone and visibly upset. When he sees Martin he asks him about Camille. By Martin’s look he understands Martin is unaware about the meeting with Camille. David then confesses to his friend he’s been accused of sexual harassment. Martin can’t believe it and is both shocked and disappointed. He was really hoping to finally find a collaboration with him. The producer is furious and is convinced he’s the victim of a conspiracy and has been set up. He wants to flee to Croatia to avoid extradition with US.
At home Camille is waiting for Martin to come back. She’s worried David might have told Martin about their previous meeting. As soon as Martin is back he reveals her all about David's accusations. She is relieved and happy David is out of the game and comforts Martin.
Back home in London, Camille shows Martin the first page of a cinema magazine where an article tells all about David’s conviction. But there’s a bigger problem. Camille explains Martin the state of things. There’s no way the film can be financed, also because of where Martin still stands and his refusal to make compromises. They start arguing and Camille gets really upset when Martin, desperate, wants to mortgage the house in order to finance his film. She calms down and at the end suggests they should take a break to forget the film for a while.
They go to Venice for a small romantic comedy. Back to the hotel, one evening the phone rings. It’s Martin’s location manager. Camille is surprised and asks Martin for explanations. He confesses he wanted to scout some locations while they are in Venice. It’s obvious he has not abandoned the idea of making the film after all. They have a fight and it turns out exactly as the scene Martin was rehearsing at the beginning.
Camille, in tears, leaves him.
Martin remains in Venice, miserable and alone. He tries to call Camille, but without success.
He finally has an idea.
Martin walks along the courtyard of an elegant villa by the sea. A woman welcomes him and shows him the way to the garden. There, lying on an hammock, is David. He is surprised seeing Martin but immediately gets the message.
They updates themselves about the latest news and finally Martin offers David the opportunity to finance his film. David, exiled and finished, accepts the offer as his last production and as an attempt to redeem himself.
Martin at the end gets the money for his film and finally the shooting can begin.
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