Side by Side

August 26, 2012 No Comments

Rating:  8.5/10

When is a film not a film?  The digital explosion and its fast paced evolution is perched to render traditional 35mm filmmaking obsolete.  Or is it?  Is newer better?

Is 35mm film another elaboration of the buggy whip? (an essential component of a time gone by?)

This Keanu Reeves produced and narrated documentary (directed by Chris Kermeally) is a captivating exploration  of the “side by side” co-existence of these clashing cinematic forces.  The enigmatic Reeves does a fine job in interviewing a wonderfully wide range of directors (Scorsese, Soderberg, Lynch, Nolan, Cameron, Fincer, Linklater, Rodriegez, Boyle, VonTrier, and newcomer Lena Dunham) and cinematographers (whose names are less known to us) who offer candid observations of the transformations resulting from digital technology.  Each interview captures the passion of filmmakers, bent on using whatever means they can to make the movie they feel compelled to make.  There are abundant clips which offer visual guideposts to the (sometimes) technical distinctions being made and allow us to share in the journey.   The loving description of the beauty of celluloid filmmaking sits “side by side” with the innovative excitement and accessibility offered by digital.  Film buffs who  recall that “talkies” were condemned as the vehicles of mass destruction of pure cinema may shrug at the alarmist attitudes towards digital filmmaking.  Still, there is change a’comin and this wonderful documentary provides an excellent (MUST SEE) opportunity to join the debate.  Don’t miss this film!  In case it is not released onto Detroit screens, it is available on demand on Comcast (way to go!).  A definite Must See Movie (I don’t know if the documentary was shot in 35mm or digital, although my guess is digital).  See you at the Movies!  Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week

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