Thursday, October 27, 2011

Taxi Driver (Cinema Orion's 4K premiere)

I sampled for the fourth time the 2011 Sony 4K restoration of Taxi Driver. This time it was the first 4K screening for the general audience at Cinema Orion. Each of the four screenings (4K at Kino Tulio, 2K screening of the 4K DCP at Kino Tulio, 2K screening of the 4K DCP at Piazza Maggiore, and this) has been different. I confess I'm taking baby steps in learning to appreciate a good digital screening.

The beauty of the detail is stunning, and there is also the fine soft touch which is generic to good photochemical film and difficult to achieve in 2K DCP. True, Taxi Driver is about urban hell: stone, concrete, asphalt, metal, clothes, faces, no nature.

If it would be possible to see side by side a good photochemical print and this, I believe they would both look great but slightly different: the 35 mm might feel more organic, the 4K DCP finely reconstructed. In reality the prints of Taxi Driver I have been seeing may have been several generations removed from the original negative and battered in heavy use. Watching the 4K DCP we are as close to the origins as possible.

The movie itself keeps growing in power. Many talents contributed, and Martin Scorsese had the vision to fulfill the explosive potential.

The cinema was packed with young people, and from the first minute we watched in silent awe and concentration. This modern classic is alive today.

Today, watching Taxi Driver, I keep thinking about the marginalized Finnish and Norwegian young men who have become mass murderers of innocent victims.

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