Side By Side is a documentary that will be premiering at the Berlin Film Festival next month, and it follows Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves as he interviews Hollywood filmmakers about the future of movies. Directed by Chris Kenneally, the doc seems to want to pose the ultimate cinematic question, which is the better medium: film or digital video? On one side of the divide you have Aliens, Abyss, and Avatar director James Cameron (as well as George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, and David Lynch) and on the other side you have The Dark Knight, The Prestige, and Inception director Christopher Nolan (not to mention cinematographer Wally Pfister and a sense of the traditional like those who still prefer vinyl).
It’s a worthwhile debate if you have any interest in the technological aspects of movies and where innovation is taking the art-form, but I have a feeling Side By Side is going to be heavily weighted in favor of one position. And it’s not necessarily the wrong one. Take a look at the trailer and see what you think:
One thing I’ll say for certain, I’m not a fan of some of the new televisions that remove any blur from a moving image, whether it was originally created digitally or not. The human eye simply doesn’t work that way, and so the final product looks inherently unreal to our minds, thus forcing a separation from the viewer that takes them out of the fictional space they’re meant to experience. From that aspect, the pursuit of digital perfection misses the point of why film itself is such a successful medium. But personally, in terms of the future of the art, I’m with Martin Scorsese. There’s room enough for both film and digital in the movie making business, and it’s up to the artists to use them effectively.
Really, though, I can’t help but think of Bob Dylan:
Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He hates any and all 3-D, and hopes the real future of movies lie in IMAX and theaters that serve beer, preferably both at the same time.