Terry George: 'Serious movies are dying out'

Terry George hopes his new film The Promise, about the Armenian Genocide, makes people come to terms with history.

Hotel Rwanda director Terry George has accused movie studios of short changing cinemagoers with too many action films.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker and writer is back in the directing chair with The Promise. Starring Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac, the feature is set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire and shines an unflattering light on the Armenian Genocide that killed 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1917.

When quizzed by Variety on the state of Hollywood, Terry confessed that getting his movies made is becoming increasingly difficult due to the current desire for blockbusters.

“Studios have decided to make tentpole movies about action heroes and they’ve veered away from serious drama to the detriment of the cinema-going population,” he sighed to the publication. “The emotions conveyed by studios at the moment are eye candy and raucous laughter, but there are other emotions like empathy, rage, sorrow, joy. These emotions need to be stimulated as well.”

He adds the emotions he experienced after watching Cambodian civil war drama The Killing Fields and Steven Spielberg's holocaust masterpiece Schindler’s List are becoming lost to audiences now.

“The inability to view these films in a cinema and walk out and discuss them — it would be a disaster if that went away. I hope the pendulum swings back and studios commit resources to making serious dramas,” he stated.

Terry wrote The Promise, as well as directing it, and knows the movie will cause controversy due to the nature of the plot.

Following the Armenian Genocide, the Republic of Turkey was formed, though the country refuses to acknowledge the systemic killing of the Armenian people. The U.S. also does not fully recognise the historical event, with only 45 out of 50 of the country’s states agreeing it happened.

“I am (hoping this film makes people come to terms with history),” Terry shared. “It’s one of the great forgotten catastrophes of the 20th century. The word genocide was coined to describe what happened to the Armenian community.”

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