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Cinemas must drastically improve or they will lose audiences, says Christopher Nolan

To kick start the London Film Festival’s LFF Connects series, Nolan joined savefilm steering group members artist Tacita Dean and, Director of the Austrian Film Museum, Alexander Horwath in a discussion moderated by Heather Stewart, Creative Director of the BFI.

Nolan passionately spoke of the value that film can bring to cinemas and praised fellow director Quentin Tarantino for organising the installation of 70mm projectors in 100 cinemas that will show his latest film, ‘The Hateful Eight’ as it was meant to be seen.

Dean expanded on the topic of medium specificity. As an artist who is primarily know for her 16mm films, she explained the reluctance of some museums to present her films in the medium that she intended them to be exhibited. It is not acceptable, or true to the artwork, that a 16mm film, a 35mm silde or an oil painting be shown in a different format.

Nolan and Dean shared the stage with Horwath of The Austrian Film Museum, which has an untarnished record of only showing moving image works on the medium they were intended to be shown. Horwath shares Nolan’s view that any transfer of original material will never survive these proceedures without loss. This simple reason means that film will always be projected as film.

The much cited argument that film is more expensive than digital was also touched upon but the point that film may present greater costs upfront, but fewer in postproduction now has a louder voice. Nolan rightly questioned why there was no drastic reduction in cinema ticket prices if the technology really has become vastly cheaper.

A wonderfully on point observation from Nolan reinforces one reason he uses film; If, as some studio heads argue, story telling trumps all other artistic decisions, we would be making radio plays.

The medium does matter.


Read The Guardian’s account of the event here

Image: Christopher Nolan from The Guardian