Monday, February 21, 2011

Kalle Kinnunen on Taxi Driver in 4K

Kalle Kinnunen, film critic of the Suomen Kuvalehti magazine, writes that Taxi Driver in 4K was his personal highlight of the Berlin Film Festival. It was presented by Grover Crisp from Sony Pictures.

Kalle Kinnunen is a critical observer of the digital transition period. Now he writes that Taxi Driver in 4K was as good if not better than film. "I may never have seen a film print this good". "4K is the future".

Myself, another critical observer of the digital transition, I try to keep updating my views. On the home viewing front blu-ray is so astounding that it is a contender for film projection in a small cinema. We must see to it that cinema projection is superior to the one in our own living-room!

I would like to avoid fanaticism. During the last 15 years we have witnessed veritable volte-faces, even photochemical purists becoming digital apostles. I would like to keep an open mind to all alternatives. We can afford film and digital.

As a film archive programmer I'm aware of the immense treasures of rare films that exist on 35 mm, 16 mm, and 8 mm film. It will take generations to make them all available digitally. There are important films of which there have never been new prints since their first run 50 years ago... 70 years ago... That could be witnessed last year in Bologna as this trouble concerns even a pantheon director like John Ford. From this we can project that 50 years from now we still need film projection.

Film has been remarkably durable since it was invented by George Eastman in 1889. In 1894 Thomas A. Edison established the traditional aspect ratio and perforation practice still in use.

Digital means constant change. Nothing is permanent. Engineers realize this in a much more profound way than we film culture experts. I still haven't recovered from the devastating presentations of the shaky grounds of digital existence that the engineers made in the FIAF Oslo Joint Technical Symposium.

But I agree with Kalle Kinnunen that superior screenings can be possible with 4K and better.

P.S. 15 April 2011: I have learned this week that Taxi Driver was screened in Berlin from a 4K DCP but on a 2K projector because of a malfunction in the 4K projector.

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