Film or digital? You decide.
Side by Side
Director: Christopher Kenneally (Crazy Legs Conti)
Cast: Derek Ambrosi (Premium Rush), Michael Ballhaus (Gangs of New York)
Runtime: 99 min
by John DeSando
“People love great stories. They love to get into a world and have an experience. And how they get it—it doesn’t really matter.” David Lynch
Which do you prefer: photochemical or digital projection for your movies? If you’re geeky enough, you really care; if not, like me, you want a great story and characters with a crisp image that complements the theme, regardless of whether or not it’s film. As for 3D, I can live without it.
Christopher Kenneally’s interesting Side by Side documentary presents filmmakers like George Lucas who claim celluloid is dead and those like Christophe Nolan who vow not yet to trade his “oil paints for crayons.” The film does a credible job presenting both sides with a slight edge to a future of all digital and a pessimistic take on film as an eventual curiosity.
Among the talking heads are avatars of photography and direction with an occasional producer and actress to get closer to us viewers, who are never questioned even though we are the ultimate arbiters. But the experts have valid and provocative points: the film advocates tout its warmth and color possibilities while the digital dudes trumpet the ease, low cost, and creative infinity. The film does an entertaining job of presenting the sides.
Both sides agree archiving remains a pressing and often neglected issue. Although Martin Scorsese is at the forefront of saving film, no one else has yet taken the case of digital preservation with his passion. The documentary doesn’t take enough time on this issue especially since I thought something like my external hard drive would already be in the mix. Not. Apparently even digital imaging can break down in storage.
Oh, well, I’m with Lynch: Give me a super story and beautiful image and let the geeks and gods work out the details.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org.
He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com