s i d e  b y  s i d e

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15th February 2013

Christopher Kenneally

Keanu and every director ever

99 minutes

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Keanu has come a looong way from Bill and Ted and Parenthood. Not that you'd particularly know to look at him. And now he's turned interviewer as he peers at celluloid versus digital and goes woh......

It would appear that Keanu and director Christopher Kenneally both looked at a digital print and a celluloid print running next to each other and a light bulb pinged into life.

And a short film then expanded into a fully fledged documentary that looks like it finally has a distributor here in the UK. This is a very good thing as this is a fascinating film for anyone with even the remotest interest in the actual stuff that film is made on.

The boys line up a spectacular range of talent to chat about their differing views on the formats. Luminaries such as Fincher, Boyle, Cameron, Lucas, Lynch, Nolan, Pfister (and so on and on and on) line up to expound the virtues and vices of celluloid over digital. Or vice-versa.  There are some surprises - Scorsese has migrated to digital easily and some not surprises - Lucas is obviously the gadget man when it comes to this sort of thing, but it's truly impressive how well Keanu gets his subjects talking.

Not primarily known for his documentaries, it's easy to forget just how long Keanu has been in the acting business - Bill and Ted was 1989. The wide variety of people he's worked with over the years has clearly made him very comfortable discussing his subject with the great and the good and the interviews come across as nice, comfortable chats with friends. He lets his subjects do the majority of the talking and in doing so elicits some wonderfully insightful information.

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Although I've noted this above as celluloid versus digital, it comes out much more balanced than that. The pros and cons of using both formats are not something that a definite non-film-maker like broken shark would really consider properly. The concept of the previous day's film coming back from the lab and being watched is at once a hark back to a previous era and a potentially useful and necessary break for the cast and crew to assess work done. Digital allows for a more frantic schedule with the potential to massively cut cost and waste but even aside from the aesthetic difference on the screen, what sort of impact is this having on films and film making?  

If you're a budding film maker or an interested bystander, this film is a superb view on the subject. And there's hours more in store for the dvd and blu-ray release.

Check out the Side by Side trailer here.