Side by Side
Can film survive our digital future?
Since the invention of cinema, the standard format for recording moving images has been film. Over the past two decades, a new form of digital filmmaking has emerged, creating a groundbreaking evolution in the medium. Keanu Reeves explores the development of cinema and the impact of digital filmmaking via in-depth interviews with Hollywood masters, such as James Cameron, David Fincher, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, and many more.
Christopher Kenneally’s Side by Side is a pleasingly balanced documentary about the virtues and problems of both digital and celluloid film. An affable Keanu Reeves narrates the film that chronicles the science, art and impact of digital cinema whilst interviewing influential figures involved in the use, production and business of digital filmmaking.
Perhaps the most impressive element of the entire documentary is its extensive roll-call of contributors. From influential filmmakers (James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch to name but three) to high profile cinematographers and editors, the film explores the opinions of those truly in the know. Although the film is ultimately concerned with the impact digital filmmaking has on celluloid and the industry as a whole it is a…
Cool DVD extra, bro.
The issue is that it is different. How do you use it and how do you use it to tell a story? It's up to the filmmaker.
Christopher Kenneally's documentary attempts to explore the pros and cons of every aspect of filmmaking when it comes to digital versus photochemical film. Keanu Reeves hosts and interviews the biggest names in the business and proponents of both sides of the spectrum. Whether or not the doc achieves it's goal isn't important as what I enjoyed most about the film is actually a byproduct of what it was trying to accomplish.
By having various filmmakers explain their thoughts on the debate of digital vs film, you end up getting a glimpse…
This is basically a glorified DVD extra, but it is still enjoyable enough. Both digital and film are put into context in relation to film making and this should interest most people who use a site where you obsessively log all the films you watch and pay twenty bucks to find out how many hours you waste a year watching movies. In summation, I want to hang out with Keanu Reeves.
I found it interesting how in Sound City everyone was bemoaning the use of digital technology, saying it takes the creativity away from artists and makes it so anyone can do it, but in Side by Side they laud it for freeing creativity and allowing new artists to emerge.
Very enjoyable and educational film.
Though perhaps a bit deep in the wonk for non-film-nerds, this is an utterly fascinating look at the rise of digital filmmaking and its epochal effects. It comes off pretty balanced between those who view digital as a great evil and those who see good in it, or are at least resigned to its apparent foregoneness. I was especially impressed of the creative impacts of shooting digital, from an even freer camera (e.g. hinge-point digital moment Celebration) to actors being exhausting by shooting take after take in a row, with no need to reload. Also fascinating: Watching the ebb and flow of onscreen interviewer Keanu Reeves' hair and beard.
A great documentary.
The Good: Fascinating and informative.
The Bad: Glosses over a few things. Slightly leans towards digital. It would've been great if they managed to get someone like Spielberg or Tarantino to share their opinions on digital filmmaking. Keanu Reeves as the narrator/interviewer—it just feels... weird. Ultimately feels like some Discovery Channel special.
The Bottom Line: While you likely won't learn much that you didn't already know before, Side by Side is still a solid documentary that every cinephile should seek out.
Keanu Reeves - "Are you done with film?"
David Lynch - "Don't hold me to this Keanu, but I think I am"
This line alone makes this film the #1 tear jerker of last year.
In all seriousness though, this documentary was a fascinating debate and fair questioning of the formats of film and digital, the technology we use to make films, and the way we watch them. The names they got involved in this documentary are outstanding and the opinions very diverse with a fair judgement on all by Keanu and his team.
Definitely one to watch for lovers of film.
A glorious investigation into celluloid and digital and the widening (or closing) gap between them.
An accessible and interesting look at the current shift from celluloid to digital. There's not much to say about it beyond that, I guess--though at times I thought it leaned too much in favor of those who support digital. Still, a diversity of viewpoints is expressed, and just when I felt it was playing too much like propaganda for the digital revolution, along would come a talking head firmly asserting the opposite, that film is and always will be better, etc.
As one can imagine, this doc presents a worthwhile exposure to the private, internal world and history of cinematography and evolution of digital imaging. However, there's not much of a debate or a persuasion--digital must replace film--limited pros were provided for film, absent of pathos (except from a few unknown indie directors so obviously desperate for recognition as artists that they end up looking like eccentric used car salesmen), and those did not outweigh cons; if digital technology existed before film, I can't imagine anyone even thinking to invent film as an alternative.
The film appears to have been shot on a low-res camera--my images were pixelated, so that irony is also working for the film, but ultimately the subject matter alone achieves 4.5 stars.
"There's less good, more bad." - Lorenzo do Bonaventura (I knew I was right)
A brilliantly crafted tour of the evolution of filmmaking process, Side by Side, in simple words, is a side by side comparison of shooting on film & shooting digitally. Featuring Keanu Reeves as the questioner discussing the evolution & impact of filmmaking since its inception with Hollywood master directors like Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan etc & many other cinematographers, film editors, visual effects supervisors as well as their personal opinion about the two existing mediums of filmmaking process, this documentary also exhibits the benefits & limitations (in ease of use, economy, flexibility etc) of both of these mediums and covers in detail the dawn, rise & revolution of digital filmmaking that, today, threatens the very existence of 120 years of filmmaking…
Occasionally informative, but nowhere near as informative as it could (should?) be, and in pursuing the arguments of digital cinema's defenders and detractors, it stops before it can become something truly provocative.