Sunday, 21 October 2012


Aptly, this is a documentary that doesn't take sides. This isn't exactly a debate on an Israel-Palestine level, but it is a debate all the same, and there are strong voices on both sides of the divide - this divide being between using traditional photochemical film stock in the production of motion pictures and using digital. Director Christopher Kenneally and interviewer / co-producer Keanu Reeves (better here than in any of his films as an actor) seek less to contribute to any argument than to enlighten - those unfamiliar with the differences between film and digital (or even that there is a difference at all) should find themselves more knowledgeable, those familiar have the pleasant experience of hearing distinguished film professionals comment on the topic. It's one which is changing the shape of the industry and its output, and defining careers, yet its impact, which is more considerable than the average filmgoer might imagine, is largely undocumented and unknown within the general public. Not that such a non-controversial documentary is likely to stoke the fire. Predictably, James Cameron and George Lucas come across as arrogant supporters of digital; those in support of film come across much more humble and eloquent, even those with less direct experience on the subject, such as Greta Gerwig. Would it surprise you to learn, then, that Side by Side was shot on digital? Still not taking sides.