The unstoppable force hits the, regrettably, movable object.
Theatre owners have been switching to digital projectors, and firing their projectionists, for years. It's easy to get mad, I'm talkin Howard Beale mad, about these things but those involved, generally speaking, have no other option.
Forgetting the savings for a moment, however, the fact of the matter is that Hollywood just doesn't send out 35mm prints anymore. We all had hope, of course, that a few sticks would stand firmly in the mud, but today it seems that a seemingly sturdy one has fallen.
Quentin Tarantino hit the Cannes film festival in May for the twentieth anniversary of his Pulp Fiction Palme d'Or win. The director gave a press conference before the closing ceremony in which he made his feelings felt regarding the digital switch:
The fact that now most films are not shown in 35mm means the war is lost. The death of 35mm is the death of cinema.
Indeed, the special Pulp Fiction screening was the only 35mm print at the whole festival but, despite all this vitriol, it seems even he can't swim against this particular tide. The director's New Beverly Cinema reportedly picked up its first digital projector shortly before the press conference took place.
The irony here is certainly tragic. Unless you never want to screen a new movie again, it seems there really is no way around it. It's easy to be romantic about these things but there is a physical quality to film which cannot be replaced.
So any time you do see that shaky flicker at the changing of the reels, savour it, it might just be the last. Or will it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.