Director Mike Leigh On Quentin Tarantino’s Outspoken Mission To Preserve 35MM Film: ‘That’s Bollocks’

01.03.15 4 years ago 13 Comments
mikeleigh

Sony Pictures Classics

The future of celluloid has been an ongoing topic amongst cinephiles for the majority of the past decade. The use of digital is just not going away and has caused the forming of an ad hoc style film preservation society which includes the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan and of course, Quentin Tarantino. The latter publicly trashed the concept of digital filmmaking referring to the medium as “TV in public” and went so far as to call it “the death of cinema as I know it.”

In a recent interview, 71-year-old director Mike Leigh took some time out of discussing his new film Mr. Turner to bluntly discuss Tarantino’s fight to save 35 mm film and his sentiments referenced above. From The Star:

“That’s bollocks, in a word,” Leigh says, with a sort of half grin.

“It’s a ludicrous statement, because apart from anything else, it’s a backward-looking statement that is irresponsible. I remember a time in the late ’70s when people said, ‘Cinema is over.’ There are young filmmakers doing all sorts of fantastic things and part of the reason that’s possible is the democratization of the medium because of a new technology, so (Tarantino’s fight) is twaddle.”

He went on to confirm his new movie Mr. Turner was shot all in digital:

We are old-fashioned celluloid men and we’ve been making films for a very long time and in a Luddite way. But apart from anything else, it becomes a non-negotiable matter because the laboratories are closing down. And the fact is, this is technology that is brilliant. People have put a lot of time and energy into developing it and we’ve simply said let’s embrace it and go for it and be positive. It’s very hard to say, and it’s interesting you do say, that it looks like film. It’s very difficult to quantify, because had we shot it on film we still would have done CGI and digital things in post-production. It’s very hard to know whether it would have looked different. So if it looks like film, that’s great, but it is what it is and it looks great. We just took an intelligent decision (to shoot digitally), in collaboration with our brilliant producers, and it became inevitable.

"Revenge Of The Green Dragons" Premiere - 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

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Another director weighing in on the subject is none other than Martin Scorsese. He recently sat down with Indiewire while visiting the Toronto International Film Festival and gave these thoughts on the matter:

“It’s just a last stand. However, I grew up with film. I love film, celluloid, and I shot ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ on film. The problem is that technology is going by, but it doesn’t mean we can’t use the old one if we keep the labs going for awhile. Because one of the most important things about celluloid is that it’s the best medium for preservation.”

Like many movie (and Western) lovers, I’m edge-of-my-seat excited about Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful EightAccording to Deadline, the director pledged at 2014’s American Film Market to screen the film in 70 mm with hopes that “it will remind the world why, compared to film, digital projection is like coming to a gunfight with a knife.” Them’s some bold words, Quentin!

(Via: The Star / Indiewire / Deadline)

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