Film Review: Influential Filmmakers Discuss Digital Revolution in ‘Side by Side’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – We are at the tipping point of a technology that has been used for a hundred years to capture the moving image. Shooting on film is going away as more and more filmmakers use digital technology to tell their stories. How does this change the art form? Is it a creative new landscape or the death of something important? Keanu Reeves guides us through this minefield of opinions in the excellent “Side by Side,” opening this weekend at the Siskel Film Center and now playing On Demand.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

The first thing one notices about “Side by Side” is the pedigree of the interview subjects chosen to discuss this incredibly interesting topic — James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez…the list goes on and on. How the digital revolution has impacted the art of film, positively and negatively, is clearly a subject about which many of our greatest artists have an opinion. And yet “Side by Side” doesn’t give too much weight to either half of the debate, correctly noting that the move to digital has both pros and cons while offering a rather detailed history of how we got here.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Side by Side” in our reviews section.

There are a lot of technical elements to “Side by Side” — details on how color timing works, the developments of specific cameras, etc. — that will be of interest to techno-philes but what I found most curious was the creative voices and their varied responses to the technology. Most of them aren’t overly surprising. David Fincher likes the control given to him by digital. Christopher Nolan likes the artistry of actual film. But for every artist and technician on one side of the debate, there’s an equally persuasive argument on the other side. Yes, film has a “purity” and artistry to it but digital allows for a number of creative doorways to open that are otherwise closed.

How does digital filmmaking change how we make movies? It’s mostly an immediacy and freedom. Actual film runs in ten-minute spurts between reloads and you can’t see what you have until the next day. With digital, you can shoot for hours and see immediately what you want to change on-set. And here’s the dividing line. Can an art form be too controlled? Joel Schumacher speaks of an actor who wanted to see every take on the digital display. Does it lose something organic to have something so controlled or does it give our most creative voices more of a chance to refine their visions? Does the freedom of everyone being able to make a movie mean more good movies or less because there isn’t a “tastemaker” involved? How about the argument that film will never be “format obsolete” because it’s both artistic and archival in that all you ever have to do is shine light through it? There are so many unanswered questions.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Side by Side” review.

“Side by Side” opens at the Siskel Film Center in Chicago on September 15, 2012 and is now available On Demand. It also expands around the country over the next few months. It was directed by Chris Kenneally.

Side by Side
Side by Side
Photo credit: Tribeca Films

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Little Women: The Musical

    CHICAGO – The story of “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott, has been an American institution since its publication in 1869. The story of four girls-to-little-women during the American Civil War, with their indomitable mother holding down the household while their father is away in the war, was a perfect candidate to become a Broadway musical. The Brown Paper Box Co. (BPBCo) is currently presenting a brilliant adaptation of that musical for the storefront stage, and its emotion, music craft and energy is nothing sort of a triumph… this small theater company that could does it again. The show has various evening/matinee performances at the The Strawdog Theatre in Chicago through February 9th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Deadbeat2

    CHICAGO – Not many web series start out as music videos, but the new online (YouTube) drama “Deadbeat 2” was just that. Created, written and directed by Danny Froze, the made-in-Chicago story recently premiered episodes five and six in the series, which features actor Kiwaun Stoutmire in the lead role of Ronnie.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker