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Review: Side by Side

By BETSY SHERMAN  |  August 14, 2012

Chris Kenneally's documentary about the inexorable rise of digital as the medium in which films are being shot and disseminated is a must-see for AV geeks and cinephiles — even die-hard celluloid fans. He got access to a representative array of directors, directors of photography, and other professionals who sit for interviews with co-producer Keanu Reeves. They cover the history of photo-chemical and digital processes, but the drama arises from testimonies of those in the trenches who debate what's being gained (ease of use, immediate playback) and lost (warmth of image, durability). George Lucas presides as mad king, and there's a range from gung-ho Steven Soderbergh to skeptical David Fincher to lonely 35mm holdout Christopher Nolan. Unfortunately the wishful-thinking discussion of digital projection doesn't concede that, at present, it's a mess. As for the future, the coda on preservation reveals the ultimate cliffhanger: whether digital files will survive, uncorrupted, into the 22nd century.

  Topics: Reviews , Keanu Reeves
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