Quentin Tarantino has made it no secret that he hates digital filmmaking and exhibition. Even before he released The Hateful Eight in a 70mm roadshow format, the director has expressed time and time again that film is king and that digital isn’t worth his or anyone else’s time. But why exactly does he feel that way? And who else is Team Celluloid?
In his early days, Tarantino was a humble video store clerk. That’s where he honed his appreciation for movies and found a lot of the inspirations for his future work. Since then, Tarantino has come to see celluloid as by far the superior format for cinematic storytelling. He’s said that when he goes to the theater and sees a movie shot or projected in digital, he feels ripped off, going so far as to say it’s just “HBO in public.” The Pulp Fiction director has claimed he doesn’t even stream movies.
Tarantino sees the current state of the movie industry lacking, and he wants to recapture the vitality it once had. With The Hateful Eight he hopes to accomplish this via shooting in 70mm, and accompanying 70mm screenings of the film with a roadshow experience complete with an overture, intermission, and a program book. He’s entranced by the “magic of film,” and sees digital as the wrong route to reach that magic. Filmmakers like Judd Apatow, Rian Johnson, Christopher Nolan, and Paul Thomas Anderson are with him on shooting on film stock, Anderson having also distributed his 2012 picture The Master in 70mm.
Not everyone sides with Tarantino, though. Tarantino collaborator Robert Rodriquez shoots on digital, as do big names Danny Boyle, James Cameron, and Steve Soderbergh. And no one can claim that those directors don’t make beautiful-looking films on digital.
While the debate over digital vs. film won’t be settled any time soon, it’s nice to see the vision and spectacle that Tarantino sees and brings to the moviegoing experience. With The Hateful Eight‘s release and the event that was seeing Grindhouse in theaters, it’s clear that as long as he’s still making movies, film will have some life in it.