It sounds a bit kooky — Keanu Reeves acting as producer, narrator and onscreen interlocutor for a documentary on the transition of industrialized filmmaking from a photochemical process to a digital one. Keanu Reeves?
Yet the doc"Side by Side,"directed by Chris Kenneally, turns out to be a sharp, useful primer on the history of digital imagemaking and the rapid transition away from film happening throughout the production workflow of making movies.
Whether out of their own interest in the topic or Reeves' gravitational star-pull, those who participate are an impressive who's who that includes directors Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, James Cameron, David Lynch, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh and Andy and Lana Wachowski as well as cinematographers Michael Chapman, Vittorio Storaro, Reed Morano, Bradford Young and Anthony Dod Mantle.
The film is not so much positioned as pro-digital as simply gauging where things are, with the most vocal pro-film representatives being filmmaker Christopher Nolan and his longtime cinematographer Wally Pfister. Representing the younger generation of digital natives are Lena Dunham and Greta Gerwig.