Tarantino tells Cannes digital screenings have killed cinema

Fri May 23, 2014 2:28pm EDT
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By Alexandria Sage

CANNES France (Reuters) - Screening films in digital is like forcing audiences to watch television in public, cult director Quentin Tarantino told the Cannes film festival on Friday, adding that the lush 35-millimetre cinema he grew up with was "dead".

Tarantino is not competing in this year's event, but he spoke to journalists and film critics before a 35mm screening of his hit "Pulp Fiction" on the beach on Friday night.

"The fact that most films now are not presented in 35mm means that the war is lost," said the director of the cult hit "Reservoir Dogs".

Digital formats and distribution have swept the world of cinema, largely because of cost - most of the films in Cannes are now projected that way.

But aficionados still sing the praises of the old-school film reels - in the same way that music buffs hold on to their vinyl LPs over compact discs. Fans obsess about the warmth and fineness of the 35mm grain and its ability to record the darkest of shadows and the brightest of lights.

"Digital projections, that's just television in public. And apparently the whole world is okay with television in public, but what I knew as cinema is dead," said Tarantino.

"I'm hopeful that we're going through a woozy romantic period with the ease of digital and I'm hoping that while this generation is completely hopeless, that the next generation that will come out will demand the real thing," he added.

The director known for the energy and violence of his films said digital did have some advantages.   Continued...

Director Quentin Tarantino (2ndL), actress Uma Thurman (L), actor John Travolta (2ndR) and his wife Kelly Preston pose on the red carpet they arrive for the screening of the film "Sils Maria" (Clouds of Sils Maria) in competition at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 23, 2014.  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier