EXCLUSIVE: As kind of a dream Christmas gift for film nerds everywhere (and especially me in that regard) I got to sit down with directors Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson on Christmas Eve in Tarantino’s home screening room to talk about the fate of 70MM, the future of film and memories of our greatest movie experiences among other things in a nearly hourlong conversation recorded on the eve of the opening of Tarantino’s 70MM roadshow debut of The Hateful Eight. As has been well documented on Deadline, this snowy western was shot in Ultra Panavision 70, the first film to use this process and lenses since Khartoum in 1966. The Weinstein Company’s distribution head Erik Lomis scoured the country to come up with the parts, and then nearly 100 venues around the nation equipped to show this movie in all its large-format glory, a process thought “gone with the wind” in the age of digital cinema that has all but completely taken over the industry. But with filmmakers like Tarantino, Anderson (who used 70MM for his 2012 film, The Master) and Christopher Nolan (to whom both give the lion’s share of credit) refusing to let it die, film — and Kodak in particular — is getting a sort of reprieve and maybe a chance to live another day.
Tarantino and Anderson had lots to say and hopefully it signals good tidings for those who don’t want to see film, especially the Rolls Royce format of 70MM, go the way of eight tracks. And Tarantino has taken it even further with the revival of the long-dead “roadshow” presentation that was a staple of exhibition in the 50’s and 60’s, in which screenings begin with an overture, there’s a mid-movie intermission and exit music; along with a souvenir program, unpopular prices and the “event” kind of showcase that used to be the norm before the business decided it wasn’t good business anymore. This was how audiences of earlier generations saw films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ben-Hur, Lawrence Of Arabia and other classics.
This is definitely a great film geek conversation that, above all, shows the passion for the big screen experience of movies on the part of two of our most adventurous directors. It is clear to me that even though criminals are out there as we speak trying to pirate Hateful Eight, The Revenant and more to put them on your computer screen, these cinematic scrooges can’t steal the wonder of sitting in a theater and watching these stories unfold the way they were meant to be seen. My two cents. By the way the experience of Cinerama comes up a lot too (there’s even a Cinerama homage at the opening of The Hateful Eight), and where else are you going to hear Tarantino talk about the guilty pleasure of seeing Krakatoa, East Of Java in the big screen format before explaining that Krakatoa was actually west of Java? Or going to see the reconstructed original Cinerama version of How The West Was Won in the garage of a big screen freak in Dayton, Ohio? Or learning the first time Paul Thomas Anderson got hooked on the BIG picture with a Star Wars movie?
Anderson, who has been nominated for six Oscars for four different movies including There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Magnolia and most recently Inherent Vice last year, and Tarantino, who has won two Oscars and seen three of his films (Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Bastards, Django Unchained) nominated for Best Picture, both know their stuff. To watch our conversation just click on the VIDEO LINK above. And have a great holiday.