Modern American movies of the past 15 years have introduced to the audiences a fresh generation of actors. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt, John Cusack, Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Gwyneth Paltrow and Julianne Moore have given performances as vivid as their illustrious predecessors. Unlike the iconic stars of Hollywood's classic era, who always seemed to be playing themselves — stars like Cary Grant, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor — the current generation of American actors disappear into their roles, playing parts that differ from one movie to the next. Most of their movies are financed by Hollywood. They are a promise to the variety of American filmmaking On important reason for this eclecticism is the impact of smaller, semi-independent studios. Studios like Sony Pictures Classics and Dream Works specialize in producing or distributing avant-garde movies.
However, no studio head has been more influential or more successful in promoting innovative American, as well as foreign-language films, than Harvey Weinstein of Miramax. In many ways, Weinstein is the crucial link between the movies of the 1960s and those of the past 15 years. When Weinstein launched Miramax in 1979, he wanted to produce the sort of challenging films he had adored in his youth. This is precisely what he has done. Miramax has been responsible for bringing to the United States foreign films like The Crying Game, Cinema Paradiso, II Postino, Life is Beautiful, and Like Water for Chocolate. All of these films made money, despite the stereotype abroad that Americans will only pay to see blockbuster movies made in Hollywood.
Still, no matter how important the contributions and convictions of particular producers, directors or actors have been, what contemporary American movies have most in common with the films of the 1960s and 1970s, is a seriousness of artistic purpose combined with a desire to enthrall the audience. These twin ambitions are, by no means, uniquely American. Wherever they have come from, the greatest directors — Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Federico Fellini, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg — they have always recognized the intimate relationship between entertainment and art.
To sum it up American films of the new generation are more open to their audience feelings, emotions, the inside world, thoughts and actions. People of the new American generation have a great opportunity to watch what is going on inside them in the movies shot outside.
(Adapted from "Arts in America")
illustrious predecessors — прославленные предшественники
influential — влиятельный
innovative — инновационный
the crucial link — важное связующее звено
to launch smth — запустить что- либо
to be responsible for smth — быть ответственным за что-то
despite smth — несмотря на
the contributions and convictions — вклады и убеждения
to enthrall the audience — увлекать зрителей
to recognize smth — признавать что-то