The Third day: Side by side
Keanu Reeves with a beard of different length all the time wanders around Hollywood and bothers respectful people like directors, cameramen and actors with the questions about film and digital cinema. He doesn’t want to know how cinema is made and what is the difference between the technologies because the off-screen voice will tell about it anyway. He wants to know why these particular people make movies the way they do. There are Martin Scorsese, Stiven Spielberg, Lars von Trier, David Lynch, James Cameron, Steven Soderbergh, Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle and many others among interviewed. All of them seem to be glad to share their secrets: “You see, Keanu…” The film is produced in partnership with Tribeca documentary films festival and in August of 2012 was even taken to the number of the films with limited distribution in American cinemas. This is a rare example of a film without any negative review. You shall hate cinema to criticize a film with such a plenty of filmmakers talking about the profession. Lars von Trier delightfully remembers the opportunities the video has opened to people in 90-ies. Lena Dunham, the brightest of the latest newcomers in cinema remembers she would never dare to become a director if she had to mess about with the equipment requiring seventeen well-trained dudes. “When I saw this camera I wanted to call film and say: sorry, dear, I have met another one” – says Soderbergh ironically. Lynch with his constant calm denies the suspicion that the epoch of dilatants with trembling camera is approaching in cinema: “Everyone including their younger brothers have paper and pencil but we are not observing a plenty of great novels written”. Advantages and disadvantages of photochemical and digital filmmaking are examined one after another. Yes, photochemical films look far better. But it costs much more. Yes, the cost of film causes more responsibility at the shooting stage: when you can literally hear the money rolling it’s hard not to exert yourself the best. But on the other hand digital filmmaking gives more opportunities. Like too paint the frame into one color as for example in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Or to produce “The Matrix” and “Avatar”. Or to watch over the footage just shot. Or not to lug heavy equipment with you: Danny Boyle remembers with pleasure his cameramen running up and down Mumbai with cameras in their hands and MacBooks at their backs during the production of “Slumdog Millionaire”. Sometimes the victory of film turns into funny incidents: for example the takes became longer and Jon Favreau tells Robert Downey Jr. suffered from non-stop shooting during the “Iron man” production so much he didn’t have enough time to go to the bathroom and left a cup of his urine at the corners as a protest. But the main point here is that the problem of film VS digital seems not to bother filmmakers that much. Yes, here are a couple of ardent supporters of film, especially among cameramen grumbling they won’t trade oil colors for pencils. There are a couple of ardent advocates of digital production too among whom I personally felt Michel Gondry missing. But nobody neither mourns over the end of the golden age nor proclaims the new epoch. Probably that’s because either film or digital cameras are just the instruments for telling the stories. Nobody, Scorsese and Nolan say, can deprive us of the choice how to shoot. Medium isn’t the massage yet, whatever McLuhan claims.