Preserving Film History with 35MM - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Posted 13 August 2019

This article first appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph.

At the Showroom Cinema we’re proud of the fact that we do our bit to preserve film history. In the early 2000s, the cinema industry made the move to digital. This means that most of the films you see on the big screen have arrived at the cinema on a hard drive, and they’re shown using a digital projector.

During this shift, most cinemas ripped out their old 35mm projectors. This removed their capacity to screen from analogue film - a format that had been around for over a century. But we chose to keep hold of our projectors, recognising the importance of preserving traditional techniques and film heritage for future generations.

We currently have four 35mm projectors and our team of projectionists still have the knowledge and skills needed to project from film, but the opportunities to do so are few and far between.

Largely it’s the rare classics. These often only exist on 35mm. This week our two screenings of Performance, Nicolas Roeg’s deliriously experimental thriller about a hunted gangster (James Fox) taking refuge with a reclusive rock star (Mick Jagger), are both on 35mm. But some contemporary filmmakers still value shooting and screening on film.

Quentin Tarantino has been a huge advocate for presenting his films on celluloid, and his provocative ninth feature, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, is being released at select cinemas around the country on 35mm.

The film takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a former western star, and Brad Pitt as his long-time stunt double. Feeling increasingly out of place in a city that’s changing rapidly around them, they find themselves wrapped up in an incident that sent shockwaves around Tinseltown. It’s a wild, star-studded and kaleidoscopic tribute to Hollywood’s golden age that sees Tarantino exploring all his obsessions on one epic canvas.

We’ll be presenting select screenings of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood on 35mm from Wednesday the 14th of August, and we’ll be the only cinema in Yorkshire screening from this format on its release date.

Our projection team are excited to put their skills to use, and we can’t wait to give audiences this rare experience. There’s just something special about 35mm. There’s a warmth and a physicality to it that digital simply can’t replace. And as fantastic as a crisp digital print is, knowing that you’re watching a film being projected using the same basic technique they used over a hundred years ago is a thrilling experience.

For more info on the Showroom’s 35mm screenings, please visit: /35mm

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