Quentin Tarantino is angry.
The filmmaker, in Cannes for the festival’s 20th anniversary screening of his 1994 Palme d’Or winner “Pulp Fiction” and to close the event tomorrow by presenting Sergio Leone’s 1964 spaghetti western “A Fistful of Dollars,” held a surprise conference today and used most of it to blast digital projection.
“Pulp Fiction” is the only film to be screened in 35mm at Cannes this year — all other films are screening digitally. Tarantino made it explicitly clear why that’s not a coincidence.
“As far as I’m concerned, digital projection is the death of cinema,” Tarantino said, visibly heated. “The fact that most films aren’t presented in 35mm means that the world is lost. Digital projection is just television in cinema.”
“I’m hopeful that we’re going through a woozy romantic period with the ease of digital,” he later added when asked how cinema can be “saved.” “I’m hoping that while this generation is quite hopeless, that the next one will demand the real thing. I’m very hopeful that future generations will be much smarter than this generation and realize what they lost.”
Tarantino wasn’t all doom and gloom however. Near the end of the conference he confessed to an advantage filmmakers today have thanks to digital technology: “A young person can make a film on a cell phone [for example], if they have the tenacity to do so. They can actually make a movie, and they can be legit. Back in my day, you at least needed 16mm to make something, and that was a Mount Everest most of us couldn’t climb.”