Cult film director Quentin Tarantino, who won the prestigious Palme d’Or for Pulp Fiction, has declared the death of cinema.
The director blames digital projection for killing off the art and says that screening films in digital is like forcing audiences to watch television in public, adding that traditional celluloid is “dead”.
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Speaking at the Cannes film festival where he won the coveted Palme d’Or prize in 1994, he said: “The fact that most films aren’t presented in 35mm means that the world is lost. Digital projection is just television in public.
“And apparently the whole world is OK with television in public, but what I knew as cinema is dead.”
Asked by journalists how cinema could be saved, Tarantino replied: “I’m hopeful that we’re going through a woozy romantic period with the ease of digital.
“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 realise what they lost.”
The film world has been phasing out 35mm film for new releases, with most films in the West today distributed in digital cinema format, due to its lower cost.
Ironically, the Cannes film festival also projects its films in digital.
However, Tarantino, who is in Cannes celebrating the 20th anniversary Palme d’Or win for Pulp Fiction, did concede that digital does have some advantages:
“The good side of digital is the fact that a young filmmaker can actually now just buy a cellphone and if they have the tenacity to actually put something together … they can actually make a movie.
“Back in my day, you at least needed 16mm to make something, and that was a Mount Everest most of us couldn’t climb.”
“But why an established filmmaker would shoot on digital, I have no ******* idea at all,” he added.
Tarantino, who is also set to introduce a 50th anniversary screening of Sergio Leone’s A Fistful Of Dollars while in Cannes, said he has a “pretty terrific” collection of 35mm and 16mm prints at home, adding: “I screen them all the time, I’m always watching movies.”
Eighteen films are competing for the prestigious accolade in this year’s festival. The prize to be awarded later on Saturday.