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Keeping Film Alive

70 mm Reels Small

A friend of mine sent me this post, and I thought it was worth sharing. It’s written by a twenty two year old guy in North Carolina who’s interested in the dying art of projecting movies on film. When he heard that Tarantino was arranging to have The Hateful Eight screened in 70mm at some theatres, he wanted to be involved, and ended up flying out to California on less than a day’s notice to offer his services. I really enjoyed reading about his experience, but beyond that, I was grateful to know there’s somebody under forty who’s actually excited about working with film.

I don’t want to get into an argument about film vs. digital. I’m not an expert, and aside from the inherent qualities of each format, what you end up seeing and hearing at any screening depends on the equipment being used and the theatre you’re in. But the fact is, the first hundred years of cinema history exist on film. DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K restorations are all fine, but if you want to see Lawrence of Arabia the way it was meant to be seen, you need to go to a theatre and see it in 70mm. Digital cinema is great, but it isn’t film. I can get on the net and track down a high-resolution scan of a painting by Van Gogh. It’s still not the same as going to a museum and seeing the actual painting by Van Gogh.

So it’s encouraging that this guy has invested the time and energy to learn how to run film through a projector. Future generations who really want to experience Sunrise, The Magnificent Ambersons or Do the Right Thing will be relying on people like this, people who are truly dedicated to the medium. They’re keeping film alive.

So anyway, here’s the link. And if you feel like I do, it couldn’t hurt to post a comment so he knows his efforts are appreciated.

What It’s Like to Be a ‘Hateful Eight’ 70mm Projectionist

Does Anybody Still Shoot on Film?

Josh Brolin in Oldboy

Josh Brolin in Oldboy

The answer is yes. Spike Lee chose to use film for his remake of Oldboy. Apparently he wanted the movie to have “that analog feel”. The link below will take you to an article posted by the company that provided the cameras for Oldboy. It’s an interesting read, at least for those of us following the digital/analog discussion. In addition to talking with Lee about his reasons for choosing film, the author also spoke with cinematographer Sean Bobbitt. I didn’t realize that Bobbitt had also worked with director Steve McQueen on Shame and 12 Years a Slave, both visually stunning and both shot on film.

Yeah, I know digital is still the standard. I have no illusions about a revival of film. But it’s good to know that filmmakers still have a choice.

Spike Lee and Sean Bobbitt on Shooting Oldboy