Largely unchanged for more than a century, the projection of photochemical film faces an uncertain future in the digital age. The practice of handing and projecting film is in danger of being lost; and the role of film projectionist is nearing extinction. THE DYING OF THE LIGHT explores at the history and craft of motion picture presentation through the lives and stories of the last generation of career projectionists. By turns humorous and melancholic, their candid reflections on life in the booth reveal a world that has largely gone unnoticed and is now at an end. The result is a loving tribute to the art and romance of the movies-and to the unseen people who brought the light to our screens.Written by
This film traces the full history of motion pictures (even "lantern" shows) and describes the ways technology, public preferences and entrepreneurial spirit have changed over the last two centuries, placing the newest way of viewing stories on screen (namely digital projection) into a clear context. Much of the film's commentary is provided by film projectionists, ranging in age from their 20s to their 80s, mostly men, but definitely not all!! We "tour" several derelict theatres and drive-ins, often with a projectionist who worked there. However, most of the theatres are still in operation, and the projectionists turn out to be engaging hosts, and explain pretty well their responsibilities while largely being unseen, and how committed they were to "doing a good job". As you would expect, there are quite a few sad edges to these reminiscences. The overall tone, however, is very relaxed and informative, especially if you have ever projected humble 16mm films (as I have done to Science classes many years ago), or take the opportunity to look into projection rooms whenever the rare opportunity arises. This film was screened on "Art House Theatre Day" and I saw it in the best known art-house theatre in Melbourne, which screens in 35mm, 70mm and up to 4K digital.
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