Martin Scorsese Loves Film

Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, New York, 2002 Brigitte Lacombe. Shot with a Leica M film camera and 35mm Summicron

I love Martin Scorsese. His film Raging Bull, shot on  Eastman Double-X 5222/7222 Neg. B&W film, (a 35mm film you can still buy in 400 ft rolls from Kodak) is a masterpiece.  Apparently, he remains a film proponent in the digital age. This from a 2014 press release where Scorsese spoke of Hollywood’s contracting with Kodak to maintain production of various Kodak film stocks:

We have many names for what we do – cinema, movies, motion pictures. And…film. We’re called directors, but more often we’re called filmmakers. Filmmakers. I’m not suggesting that we ignore the obvious: HD isn’t coming, it’s here. The advantages are numerous: the cameras are lighter, it’s much easier to shoot at night, we have many more means at our disposal for altering and perfecting our images. And, the cameras are more affordable: films really can be made now for very little money. Even those of us still shooting on film finish in HD, and our movies are projected in HD. So, we could easily agree that the future is here, that film is cumbersome and imperfect and difficult to transport and prone to wear and decay, and that it’s time to forget the past and say goodbye – really, that could be easily done. Too easily.

It seems like we’re always being reminded that film is, after all, a business. But film is also an art form, and young people who are driven to make films should have access to the tools and materials that were the building blocks of that art form. Would anyone dream of telling young artists to throw away their paints and canvases because iPads are so much easier to carry? Of course not. In the history of motion pictures, only a minuscule percentage of the works comprising our art form was not shot on film. Everything we do in HD is an effort to recreate the look of film. Film, even now, offers a richer visual palette than HD. And, we have to remember that film is still the best and only time-proven way to preserve movies. We have no assurance that digital information will last, but we know that film will, if properly stored and cared for.

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5 thoughts on “Martin Scorsese Loves Film

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Perfect. Thanks for the link. I’ve got 800 ft of it I’m slowly working through. I shoot it at 400 iso and develop it in the standard 3 minutes A&B. Very much an old, classic emulsion.

  1. Rob Campbell

    Something I never would have believed before I actually tried it, simply because there was no need at the time of shooting, is this: both Kodachrome and Extachrome make for beautiful black/white images – the Kodachrome ones on print, and the Ektachromes certainly so online – I haven’t printed from them. This is from the slide films exposed at recommended speed.

    Were tranny film not so expensive to buy and process, it would be a nice way to work with an eye to future access to original work – especially with the far more stable Kodachrome. Another problem it would overcome is the need for contact prints which mean that you still can’t truly use film, scan and avoid the darkroom. I have never felt very happy trying to tell expression from a negative. Of course, exposure and developing is easy to spot whether well done or not, but faces were ever a step beyond for me. I’d love to see stuff on the lightbox, edit there, and just scan the ones that do what I wanted.

    None of the above is to knock digital – just to say that the film experience can be very rewarding even today, and hybrid work can be very nice too.

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