Recently, filmmaking siblings extraordinaire, the Coen Brothers opened up to the New York Times in a lengthy but fascinating interview about their thoughts on , penning adaptations of classic modern literature and being 'indie' filmmakers (though they take issue with this term).
One of the most interesting parts of the interview was their discussion about the way their craft had changed over the years. While and have been shooting on film ever since they started making movies, they predict that Inside Llewyn Davis may be the last time they shoot on film. 'This movie was not shot digitally,' stated Joel of Inside Llewyn Davis. 'It might be the last one we ever do on film.'
Check out the specifics below:
Joel: ....the craft of it's changed a lot, just because of digital technology. That's the thing that's been the most radical. I mean, outside of that, it's still the same as when we were making Super 8 movies, basically. This movie was not shot digitally. We shot it on film. It's probably -
Ethan: Probably the last one.
Joel: It might be the last one we ever do on film.
Ethan: "True Grit" was the last film that shot on film.
Joel: We were one of the last people to stop cutting on film. And when we stopped, people would say, "Why?" Honestly, the answer was because we couldn't find assistants who knew how to work on film. They didn't exist anymore. I mean, it was — I remember being in 's cutting room around then, and I said — he was cutting on a Steenbeck back then — and I said, "How do you do this?" And he pointed like that [points] and there was this, like, 96-year-old guy on the rewinds.
When did you make the shift to digital editing?
Ethan: "Intolerable Cruelty" was the first one we cut.
New York Times: Have you tried out any digital cameras yet?
Ethan: We've seen Roger's tests of the Alexa, which are pretty remarkable, which is the eerie thing.
Joel: I think both of us — and T Bone I would throw in here, too — are very sort of analog. I'd rather listen to vinyl than to a CD. I'd rather see a movie shot on film. I don't think they look the same. I think you can duplicate things with digital technology, but what you end up doing is trying to recapture elements of photochemical technology that aren't there, and they always look a little screwy.
Ethan: The analog texture feels so good.
Joel: There was a period of time when you could choose whether you were shooting in black and white or in color, and depending on the subject matter — and usually it's sort of genre-driven and all the rest. It would be great if you could say, "This movie lends itself to digital shooting, this one, black and white," without there being any kind of arty stigma put on it. It's just another thing you can try.
Will you be going to catch Inside Llewyn Davis when it hits cinematheques in December? Let me know below.