dunkirk 70mm release

Christopher Nolan loves shooting on film and having his movies projected on film and according to the latest round of internet buzz, he’s looking to give those that share that enthusiasm a chance to see Dunkirk a few days early.

Indie Revolver reports that Nolan’s World War II epic, which is slated to open on July 21, 2017, is currently eyeing a July 19, 2017 release for theaters equipped to project films in 35mm and 70mm. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as his previous film, the science fiction adventure Interstellar, also opened a few days early in theaters that still had film projectors. As film continues to give way to digital, we can probably expect to see more of this in the years ahead, especially since a handful of influential and popular directors continue to embrace film in the midst of changing technology.

Nolan belongs to a small group of powerful directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and Paul Thomas Anderson, who continue to sing the virtues of film, shooting on the format even though it is increasingly expensive in the age of digital cameras and projectors. However, all of them stand by it as a superior format and as any seasoned filmgoer can tell you, there remains a significant difference between watching a movie projected from 35mm or 70mm film and digital. There’s nothing wrong with digital projection (especially if a theater maintains their equipment and/or doesn’t settle for a cheap and easy option), but watching something projected on film remains a special experience and something worth seeking out.

After all, seeing Interstellar projected in 70mm film remains one of the most memorable filmgoing experiences of my life and revisiting the film (which I like quite a bit) on Blu-ray simply hasn’t been the same. This also applies to other recent 70mm releases like The Master and The Hateful Eight, screenings that have etched out permanent memories in my mind. For my admission cost, there is no better way to experience a movie than in 70mm and if Nolan is going to continue to offer his films in this format, I will continue to go out of my way to watch them that way.

Nolan has said in the past that his commitment to film comes from a simple place – digital technology simply doesn’t look as good as film. He told a CinemaCon 2014 audience:

I am not committed to film out of nostalgia. I am in favor of any kind of technical innovation but it needs to exceed what has gone before and so far nothing has exceeded anything that’s come before.

Of course, there has been no official confirmation of Dunkirk‘s early release in film formats, but it’s the kind of rumor that contains kernels of truth. There are only a handful of filmmakers working today with the love of celluloid and the power to shoot on it. Nolan is one of them.

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