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I'm going to have a longer version of this interview posting next week, and it was a real pleasure to have a deeply nerdy tech conversation with Keanu Reeves about the moment we're in right now as an industry, and the wrestling match that's going on right now between film and digital.
For one thing, it's always nice to realize that the person you're having a conversation with really knows their subject. Reeves has been working on this project for two years, and during that time, he's become quite fluent in the debate, and seems to have a pretty even-handed perspective on the historic moment where we find ourselves.
The core truth is that we're really just arguing about the tools of storytelling. In the end, good storytelling is good storytelling, and if the tools evolve, then filmmakers will evolve as well. They'll continue to use those tools to communicate a broad spectrum of ideas and attitudes, and some people will do it well and others won't, and it won't really be about which cameras they use or how they cut the film.
I think when you have directors as smart as David Fincher and Christopher Nolan on absolute opposite sides of the issue, it illustrates that there is no one simple answer here. I'll review "Side-By-Side" next week, but the short version is that I find it an essential text if you want to be part of this conversation. If the thought of two hours of people talking about which cameras they like and whether or not it's an advantage to shoot on film instead of video or vice-versa sounds like dental work to you, then I'd argue there's very little for you in the movie.
Personally, I loved it, and I love that writer/director Christopher Kenneally used someone as recognizable as Keanu Reeves to draw people into the subject matter that might otherwise seem too dry or academic for most viewers.
For now, enjoy this preview of the full 20-minute conversation I'll post next week.
"Side-By-Side" arrives in theaters today, and will be available on VOD starting next Friday.