Today I had another boring conversation with someone who was complaining about the exhibition quality of archived 35mm film prints– saying they should all be discontinued & destroyed!
It amazes me how anyone can have such an obtuse outlook when it comes to cinema heritage!
OK some of the old, vintage prints are in bad shape! Many prints are discoloured, have numerous scratches and sound levels can drop in & out. However these films are working historical artefacts.
Cinemagoers when they buy tickets to a retrospective screening know what they are going to get! They understand that the visual quality (in comparison to DCP/Blu-Ray/Digibeta) will be inferior to current releases and in many circumstances they welcome it as it adds to the authenticity of the classic cinema experience (the audio crackles, visual jumps and scratches are applauded!).
35mm film is organic & alive! It deteriorates with age & we should be obliged to look after the rare prints before they are lost forever.
Sure it costs more to transport print and takes a little more time to make-up for projection. It’s awkward and can be temperamental and today’s young directors may dismiss it as outdated & regressive! But we should champion & celebrate celluloid while we can!
The digital revolution has arrived, it’s here to stay & it’s very much the future! As a result we have even more responsibility to look after the old format as it enters its latter years. Let’s give it the dignity it deserves & revel in the glorious exhibition of 24 frames per second!