CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Documentary
  • 2013
  • 99 mins

Side By Side

Film4

Synopsis

Keanu Reeves interviews the world’s best-known cinematographers and directors, including James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan, to get their take on the evolution of film technology, including the film versus digital dilemma

About

First screened at the Berlin Film festival in 2012, Side By Side at first glance seems an odd project: Keanu Reeves travels around the world in various states of beardedness, asking everyone from king-of-the-world A-list directors to virtually unknown colour-graders for their thoughts on the current drift into digital film. Some of the directors are not so much drifting as they are dashing (Steven Soderbergh) and some are actively resisting (Christopher Nolan). All make their case with passion, and the biggest surprise is that you’ll find yourself pulled in different directions throughout – there are excellent points made by people whose opinions are completely opposed.

It's also fascinating to get a glimpse of the personality of the directors involved. Joel Schumacher, of all people, displays a real understanding of human nature when he points out that although digital filming is lauded for offering performers the chance to re-watch scenes instantly and reference the notes that their director is giving them, many of them are probably distracted by the ability to worry even more than before about how their hair is looking.

Every time you find yourself siding with a plea in favour of the naturalism of film that ridicules shooting in a mo-cap suit in front of a green screen, you’ll find yourself brought up short by someone like James Cameron pointing out that this romantic ideal never existed: you were always on a soundstage during the daytime in California pretending to be outside in New York at night, with a man up a ladder checking the lighting with his bum hanging out. Cameron puts this particular point to Reeves in a forthright way: “Keanu, I’m going to assume you’ve been on a film set before...” and as you watch this and other exchanges, the reason behind employing a moviestar as question master becomes clear – it keeps a parity between the interviewer and director; Reeves isn’t cowed by the power of the people he’s talking to, nor are they ever able to be tetchy about being put on the spot by a random journalist they don’t know from Adam.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: David Lynch, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, George Lucas, David Fincher, Keanu Reeves, Martin Scorsese
  • Director: Christopher Kenneally
  • Producer: Keanu Reeves, Justin Szlasa
  • Photographer: Chris Cassidy

In a nutshell

Essential viewing for understanding different sides of one of the most vital current debates in cinema, this doc shows why celluloid versus digital isn’t a nerdy side-issue of interest to technical types only, but cuts to the heart of everything from performances to writing to whether a film can be made at all and by whom.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Night Passage

    Night Passage

    James Stewart stars as a railroad man hired to secretly carry a payroll despite his suspected connections to outlaws

  • Film4 Raiders From Beneath The Sea

    Raiders From Beneath The Seas

    Scuba-divers plan a bank robbery on Catalina island, but not everything goes to plan when it comes to their underwater escape

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Gearing up for the Glasgow Film Festival 2015

    The Glasgow Film Festival programme is announced and features Film4-backed films Second Coming and Catch Me Daddy plus much, much more, from 18th February to 1st March It¿s almost time once more for

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance

    As Louise Osmond's inspirational documentary about an unlikely group of friends who breed themselves a racehorse is about to premiere at Sundance 2015, Catherine Bray catches up with the director for

by Catherine Bray

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Our late-night highlight at 2.05am is Paul Thomas Anderson's whimsical, unconventional romance Punch-Drunk Love. http://t.co/O13WnN7JXI

  • RT @MarkDRyall: Sini Anderson's wonderful doc on #RiotGrrrl icon Kathleen Hanna is on @Film4 at 12:25am http://t.co/F7kArlYgiN http://t.co/…

  • Premiere alert! At 12.25am, we're screening rousing rock-doc The Punk Singer, about riot grrrl icon @kathleenhanna. http://t.co/uujwwc0IFU

  • "It's not what you're saying. It's all this stuff you're not saying. Insinnuendos." Up next at 10.40pm, Ray Winstone stars in Sexy Beast.

  • Coming up in an hour at 10.40pm, Ray Winstone & Ben Kingsley star in Jonathan Glazer's crime thriller Sexy Beast. http://t.co/PX5cgvtCU4

Share