Side by Side (2012)

As you probably know I’m a big fan of documentaries and when I first heard about this one I couldn’t wait to check it out. The film looks at both shooting movies on film and on digital and tries to make it clear to the viewer what the pros and cons are of each format.

Presented by Keanu Reeves and with a big collection of interviews with various directors, including Martin Scorcese, Christopher Nolan, Danny Boyle, David Fincher, Lars von Trier, James Cameron and George Lucas and various cinematographers it’s a nice look into the ideas behind the way a movie has been shot. With everything slowly transferring to being shot digitally there are some who still want to stick to the old ways (Nolan for example) and others who fully embrace it (Lucas and Cameron).

The documentary doesn’t mean to convince you of either format being better. I did get the feeling that some cinematographer were afraid of losing their job because digital allows so much about the look and feel being altered. It’s clear that both “formats” have their distinct qualities and it’s nice to hear people talk about it passionately, but personally I really can’t see the difference. With everything being scanned and edited digitally anyway, I’m not sentimental if shooting on film would disappear. I wished this would be longer and go more in-depth or had a discussion between for example Cameron and Nolan, but this documentary is worth seeing if you love movies.

Score: 7

10 thoughts on “Side by Side (2012)

  1. This looks right up my alley. Some really impressive names to it. Also very interesting take about the effects on cinematographers. Going to half to give this a watch. Nice review.

  2. Loved this documentary, and, as you mention, it is nice that Reeves and co. didn’t try to force opinions and say which format is better. Either way, as a movie freak, I found this fascinating.

    • Unfortunately it wasn’t available over here. I even contacted the marketing department to ask why it was US only. I just couldn’t wait for it and watched it online, but will probably pick it up once it is officially out in Europe…

  3. someone mentioned on my review of this film that they wondered if Side by Side was filmed on digital or celluloid. I couldn’t help but laugh at that! :) Glad you liked the documentary. it was informative (even if less relevant) to say the least

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