The Digital Intermediate process, known as DI, has been around in cinema for over a decade now. Basically, it is the transfer of filmed material to the digital realm, allowing for total control of the image in post production, especially with regards the colour palette. Traditionally it is an expensive process (10 years ago, around $200,000 for a feature film) and involved scanning the film in its entirety. But as film itself has become all but obsolete, this part of the process is unnecessary and digital grading has become more widespread. Continue reading Digital Grading: cinema and the blue rinse brigade→
Martin Scorsese has famously described cinema as simply being “a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out,” but when The Last Temptation of Christ was released in 1988, very few were willing to consider the film on those terms. This adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel remains one of the most controversial films ever released by a Hollywood studio. It sparked protests, threats and even physical attacks, with a cinema in France being firebombed by a group of Christian fundamentalists for daring to screen the film. The charge was blasphemy, with the biggest bone of contention being a much talked-about sex scene between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The fact that few of those criticising The Last Temptation of Christ had seen it, or had any intention of doing so, was apparently beside the point. Continue reading The Passionate Christ→
I know what you’re thinking. You’ve clicked on a link, and now there’s a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. “Oh no,” you sigh, “not another bloody article about those retro-juggernauts, The Artist (2011) and Hugo (2011) and what it all means for Hollywood. That’s so last month!”
Well, perhaps. But as a teacher of film history, I hope that I can offer a slightly different perspective on the films as far as their historical accuracy and their contemporary significance are concerned.
Let’s start with The Artist which, having fictional characters at its heart, brings fewer concerns with it. George Valentin, Peppy Miller and Kinograph Studios never existed, but the film takes place at one of the most interesting and extensively documented periods in cinema history. The conversion process from silent to sound cinema made – and, yes, broke – a number of careers, so it encompasses many elements which Hollywood itself loves so much, particularly meteoric rises and dramatic falls from grace.