Side by Side is 2012 American documentary directed by Christopher Kenneally and produced by Keanu Reeves.
The documentary examines the history of photochemical film and digital filmmaking. It then goes into a debate of which format is superior with interviews from different sides of the filmmaking process.
I have to say the merits of film verses digital is something I have never thought about while watching a movie. What could have been a documentary with a potentially limited audience is actually an engaging debate that should be seen by anyone who enjoys watching movies (i.e. everyone).
I was worried I would not be technical enough to understand the subject but the documentary explains simply to the audience the history and the differences between the two while discussing the positive and negative virtues of each medium. The film is narrated by Keanu Reeves who also interviews the world’s best filmmakers and their teams on the subject. There are contributions from directors, cinematographers, editors, colorists etc who give their opinion on which format they prefer to use and why. It’s interesting to see which filmmakers prefer film to digital and vice verse (Christopher Nolan is for film, David Fincher for Digital). You also get to see their passion for all aspects of filmmaking and why they feel their side is right for filmaking.
As well as explaining the process of both film and digital creation, we go into the history of both and examine how they will both progress in the future. Filmakers may prefer one process over another but can their limitations and drawbacks be ignored for long?
The film constantly had me changing my opinions on which side I was on. At first I was on the side of film then switch to digital and found myself constantly gone back and forward between the two. In the end I agree with the movie’s final comment which states if a story is good it doesn’t matter which format it’s on. Although I’m sure that won’t stop any further arguments on the topic.
Rating 4/5-A fantastic documentary that gives the causal moviegoer an insight into the filmaking process