In the digital era, what chance does ‘real’ celluloid film have of surviving? Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Tacita Dean: a small but influential group of archivists, filmmakers and artists are bent on saving the medium. A fascinating exploration, both sobering and encouraging.
In a voice-over for a Star Trek scene in which ‘science officer’ Spock evaluates a film 200 years from now, the documentary maker contemplates the attitude of future generations towards film. Will digital quality become the yardstick for measuring a film’s value? Or will there still be a place for films seen "as a specific life form, as a medium and material"? Cinema Futures explores the unique quality as well as the ephemerality of film. Filmmakers and artists (Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Tacita Dean) champion the specificity of celluloid, while archivists show us the immense task it entails to preserve the hundreds of thousands kilometres of film. Will people grow tired of this effort? Or will they find peace with the fact, quoting Scorsese, that "movies always will need people to take care of them"? Technology and economics will determine the fate of the seventh art.