Coens Hint 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Might Be Their Last Shot on Film
The debate over the death of 35mm film has been a bit quieter in the last few years as many have moved on to digital. This story might be the final nail in the coffin, as the few remaining prominent filmmakers still sticking with film are converting to digital as well. The Coen Brothers' latest film Inside Llewyn Davis just screened for press at the New York Film Festival this week (I saw it again and loved it as much as I did in Cannes) and the brothers sat in for the press conference after. They were asked about the muted look and went on to comment about digital, admitting that Inside Llewyn Davis might be their last one shot on film.
Here's their quote about shooting on film at the press conference as transcribed by the New York Film Fest:
"I have to say I'm not wildly enthusiastic about the idea," said Joel Coen. "This movie was shot on film for a number of reasons… I'm glad we shot on film, but it's a hybrid thing right now. It all goes into a computer and it's all heavily manipulated. But still, there's something that looks different. It's probable that the next one will be shot digitally."
Probable, but not certain. According to early reports, their next film is likely to be about an opera singer, but nothing is confirmed yet. During the conference, the Coens explained that their cinematographer on Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel, had "not shot anything with a digital camera before, and we discussed that would be one more complicated factor in our relationship with a DP." But the joke then became that everything is digital anyway, and even though they shoot on film, it instantly goes into the computer to be edited, and eventually projected digitally and so on. However, that is why they mentioned "but still, there's something that looks different" and feels different about film, which is why some directors still insist on it.
We'll be watching closely to see if their next feature is shot digitally and how that changes the look of it, if at all. In the meantime, these statements should nudge the digital discussion yet again. At the very least, I can attest that Inside Llewyn Davis looks and feels and sounds sublime and if it ends up being their last feature shot on film, that's all the more reason to see it in theaters on the big screen. Projected in 35mm, if possible.