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Side By Side

Tuesday 5 February 2013, 15:45

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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Next week sees the release of Side By Side - a new documentary presented by Keanu Reeves and featuring an impressive cast of filmmakers looking at a subject close to my heart - the difference between digital and analogue production and projection.

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    Comment number 1.

    Seven Samurai, the Kurosawa, masterpiece is perfect for film. It is big, beautiful, and black & white and if your going to watch a three-and-a-half hour movie, it should be on that feels half as long. One of my greatest wishes is one day to see that awesome movie splashed across the big screen.

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    Comment number 2.

    For me it would have to be Eraserhead. The idea of sitting at the cinema, watching this masterpiece on the big screen and gradually being sucked into the dark and nightmarish world that David Lynch designed is a reason why I would choose this film to see in 35mm. Another one would be Blade Runner in 70mm, I know that digital remastering has helped Scott's SF masterpiece immensely, but I personally would love to see an analogue print of the Final Cut on a large seamless 70mm screen.

    Even though there is the cineaste factor of watching a true celluloid print of a classic film, digital is the future and the one area where digital has shown its positive colours is in the preservation of classic films. The benefits of digitally remastering a classic film to its former glory, and then storing it on a hard drive where it would survive intact is a plus. Labels such as Eureka and Criterion have shown us how digital can ensure a films survival and like it or not, the process that these two companies undertake to restore some of their back catalogue is extraordinary,

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    Comment number 3.

    I think there's some mixed terminology and concepts flying around here Mark. I've been tracking Side by Side for over a year now and can't wait to see it but, correct me if I'm wrong, they are talking mostly about SHOOTING digital vs film.

    Digital/Film PROJECTION is something quite different. For example, most movies shot on film, Django and Lincoln at the moment, have been shot to film but most will see a digital projection of it. Conversely, back in the day when most films were still projected on film they would make prints of films that were shot on digital (e.g. Sin City).

    I think there needs to be some clarification made here. However, to answer your question, a movie I'd love to see a 35mm projection of is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Even when I visited the Prince Charles recently for a screening it was a digital version of the wretched 2003 extended cut with the terrible dubbing by an old Clint Eastwood (somewhat noticeable) and Eli Wallach (very noticeable). The original is like gold dust now, digital or analogue!

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    Comment number 4.

    Shawshank
    The Wicker Man

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    Comment number 5.

    This one is easy. Visconti's The Leopard. The restored 185 minute version, naturally...

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    Comment number 6.

    avatar in black and white

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    Comment number 7.

    Being fairly young, it's difficult for me to imagine what would make a good 35mm film. Though, I can imagine why Eraserhead would be an interesting choice.

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    Comment number 8.

    "Brazil" because it's my favourite film ever made and i've never seen it on 35mm even though the very nice criterion blu-ray comes close. I did however see The Adventures on Baron Munchausen on 35mm in a reparatory cinema when I was 8 or 9 in Portland, Oregon and that made me a film obsessive.

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    Comment number 9.

    Mark, i've spent many an hour over the years peering at screens, because the colour had faded or the picture was dark making it difficult to make out what was happening let alone any detail. With digital all that is forgotten, now when i watch Goldfinger, i can see exactly what is happening, instead just of movement in the dark and the fine detail in Ken Adam's sets.

    In answer to your question, one film i would like to see on celluloid is McCabe and Mrs Miller. Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond shot all his pictures on film stock that had been pre-exposed to light, giving it a washed out look, that i'm not sure can be replicated with digital. For a film about people who are unaware that the world is moving forward leaving them behind, a celluloid print seems quite fitting and as the print deteriorates and fades, it would echo the sense of nostalgic melancholy in the story.

    For anyone who's interested, Side by Side is showing at the Curzon Soho, 20th February followed by a Q&A with director Christopher Keneally.

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    Comment number 10.

    I would choose Ingmar Bergmans' Persona, just so the bit where the film melts away actually makes sense. Failing that Gremlins 2 for the same reason.

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    Comment number 11.

    I think for me personally it would have to The Terminator. I know most people consider the sequel to be the best, but I've always loved the low-budget, horror vibe to the original; plus it's Schwarzenegger's best role.
    I think a 35mm projection would really add to the atmosphere of the film. Plus the low-budget visuals wouldn't really suffer from any flaws in the projection or print.

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    Comment number 12.

    I want to see the 1977 film Star Wars. Not Episode IV. Not A New Hope in 3D with extra stormtroopers. I don't want to even see it with improved sound or vision. I want to see STAR WARS, the film that was released in 1977, on 35mm. And I want to go back in time to 1977 just so I can be sure.

    Disney, please sort that out!

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    Comment number 13.

    'Badlands' comes to mind, the imperfections of 35mm would complement shots of the wide, expansive landscapes. Also, many of Kubrick's films would be great in 35mm, particularly A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. While I love the clarity of digital, there is something special about 35mm that is really cinematic.

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    Comment number 14.

    This may sound crazy but my pick would be Toy Story. It's the first film I ever remember seeing (I was five) and I will always remember being fascinated not with the talking toys but with the black holes in the top corner of the screen that kept appearing.

    Eventually like most film goers before Phantom Menace changed everything I tuned them out but it took me a long time to warm up to Toy Story because no subsequent viewing has ever been the same because it hasn't been in film.

    But to give an answer not influenced by nostalgia I think the films that benefit the most from being screened in film are horror films since that slightly fuzzy quality that film has adds to the atmosphere by the silences being filled by the unintended hiss that old films always have making you feel on edge. I was able to see Halloween in 35mm (I think that was the type) at the Horror All Nighter at the Cameo in Edinburgh and it really improved the film for me.

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    Comment number 15.

    The film that i would like to see 'all-scratched-up' is that disaster movie spoof Disaster Movie. But only if the scratches are put on by an industrial sander.

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    Comment number 16.

    The Artist. If it's going to be silent and black and white it should be 35mm as well! (I can't remember whether it was or not when I saw it at the cinema).

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    Comment number 17.

    For me it has to be Blade Runner. It's my all time favourite film but due to being twenty years old I have never able to see it on the big screen. Even if it was the flawed original cut I wouldn't care, it would still be a brilliant experience.

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    Comment number 18.

    Last year I saw a reissue of Terrence Malick's Day's of Heaven. Whilst it was good to see it in a cinema finally (I'd only ever seen it on a pan and scan video) I would love to see a lovely 35mm print. Whilst I don't have an issue with digital "prints" (we do need a new language though!) per se, I thought that there were moments when it looked flat.

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    Comment number 19.

    For me it would have to be “Amadeus” which is one of my all-time favourite films, it is simply a delight to watch. I have it on spruced up blu-ray and the intended lavish production is superb to behold and yet I feel watching it on 35mm would be perfect. Not because of its historical setting but something about the feel of the image would suit the excellent acting and plot of pride and envy. I also think the same can be said of the Godfather films and “The Conversation”.

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    Comment number 20.

    I saw Val Guest's terrific 80,000 Suspects a few years ago and it looked superb. As for one I'd like to see... The same director's The Day the Earth Caught Fire would be a good one.

    I'd also love to see Jacques Tati's Playtime in 70mm, as well.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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