ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Five Modern Masters of 35mm Filmmaking

Updated on January 8, 2014

In the Modern World...

There are only a few true masters of 35mm film still working in Hollywood. With most movie directors choosing to shoot digitally due to both costs and scheduling concerns, the original lifeblood of the pictures known as film is becoming more and more scarce. Nearly every movie theater in America now uses digital projectors to screen movies and digital cameras are getting closer to replicating the image quality of film. Much to the dismay of many film purists, the 2010s is beginning to look like the decade in which we will see the phasing out of 35mm film entirely.

In this new digital world there are a handful of directors who choose to stick with the dying medium that Thomas Edison and the Lumière Brothers gave birth to in the 1890's. These somewhat stubborn artists refuse to shoot digitally and even consider early retirement if the industry keeps rapidly turning digital. For many, these are the last few titans of a fading art form that used to dominate the entertainment industry. A few names come to mind when thinking about film and the modern age.


Paul Thomas Anderson

Anderson is one the truest examples of a film purist who has stayed true to himself while exploring a vast range of subject matter and film styles without comprising his vision. Getting his start in the 1990s at a relatively young age when compared to other directors, Anderson made his mark with early masterpieces such as Boogie Nights (1997) which was a riveting tale surrounding the Golden Age of the porn industry and Magnolia (1999) which displayed a highly innovative approach of interweaving the stories of seemingly unrelated characters and events with compelling results.

Anderson ascended to film royalty with the release of his most celebrated film There Will Be Blood in 2007. With it's stunning cinematography, odd yet fitting score, subtle story beats and an impeccable Oscar® winning performance by Daniel Day-Lewis the film has been considered by many to be one the best movies of the 2000s decade. Anderson followed this with his most recent feature The Master (2012) which contained the awe inspiring performances and brilliant camera work we've come to expect from Anderson along with a cryptic story about the power of charismatic individuals, alienation, and post-World War II uncertainty.

Fans can expect a new P.T. Anderson film, Inherent Vice, which is slated to be released in 2014.


Joel and Ethan Coen

The Coen brothers are known as one the most formidable directing teams the industry has ever seen. Their debut dates back to 1984 with the release of Blood Simple, a small yet deeply disturbing Neo-noir crime film which goes from subtle mysterious levels to high levels of suspense near that of a horror film. Since that epic start, the Coens have continued to entice us with great features including the enduring Raising Arizona (1987), the psychological Barton Fink (1991), the masterful Fargo (1996) and the iconic, cult-like film The Big Lebowski (1998).

In the last 10 years the Coen Brothers have showed no sign of slowing down and in 2007 they released their modern masterpiece No Country for Old Men. This Best Picture Oscar® winning film details a cat and mouse game that ensues between a random hunter and a sociopathic killer over a briefcase full of money. The film uses the barren West Texas landscape to display the role that chance plays in deciding the fate of us all.

Since winning the Oscar® for Best Director for No Country... the Coen's continue to amaze us with comedy (Burn After Reading), odd dramas (A Serious Man), and perfect examples of how to remake a classic (True Grit). Their most recent work Inside Llewyn Davis has astounded critics and is currently a favorite for the 2014 award season.


Quentin Tarantino

Love him or hate him, Tarantino is one of few popular directors who refuses to go digital and stays true to 35mm film. He exploded onto the scene with his first feature Reservoir Dogs (1992) which was a blood-filled, gritty tale of a jewelry heist gone horribly wrong. But it was his second film Pulp Fiction (1994) that made him a legend among legends. With it's nonlinear storyline and explicit violence the film gave birth to a new era of realistic yet somewhat exaggerated action-based crime films that would dominate the 1990s and 2000s decade.

Since releasing Pulp, Tarantino has established his highly stylistic nature with his Kill Bill films and his more recent films which rework history. His 2009 film Inglorious Bastards tells a historically inaccurate yet well paced and action packed tale of deception during World War II while his most recent work Django Unchained (2012) shows a slave getting his revenge in Pre-Civil War Southeast America.

Tarantino has made his distaste for digital filmmaking no secret. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter Tarantino claimed that the current wave of digitally shot features is a form of "Public Television" and if it continues he may not be making movies much longer.


Christopher Nolan

Nolan is a rare example of a director who sticks to shooting on film while dealing with massive blockbusters and content some would argue would be better suited for digital cinematography. Despite this, Nolan prefers the look of film having shot his first feature Following (1998) on stark, black and white 16mm film. His second film Memento (2000) is a brilliant example of Nolan's attention to detail, fascination with mystery and the subconscious and his unconventional approach to storytelling.

Nolan would make his biggest impact with his direction of his Dark Knight trilogy which re-envisioned Batman in ways only few could imagine. His dark, gritty take on the torn superhero gave new light to the comic book film genre and established Nolan as one of the boldest visionaries of 21st Century filmmaking.

His next project, the ambitious Interstellar, is slated for a 2014 release and many believe it will be a revolutionary take on the Sci Fi genre.


Martin Scorsese

Many film purests will look at this last inclusion and think "Isn't Scorsese done with shooting film?" This is true, Scorsese's last two films Hugo (2011) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) were both shot digitally. However, his inclusion on this list is due to the fact that he is possibly the greatest living film director among us (next to Woody Allen) who is still working.

He is known for creating some of the greatest movies of the last 50 years with works such as the striking Mean Streets (1973), the haunting Taxi Driver (1976), the jaw dropping boxing epic Raging Bull (1980), and the iconic mafia story Goodfellas (1990). All of these films among many others established Scorsese as the greatest director of the late 20th Century.

In the 2000s he continued giving us hard hitting masterful stories on film such as Gangs of New York (2002) and The Avaitor (2004) which used some interesting techniques to mimic the look of some of the earliest color films. His 2006 film The Departed re-established him as the master of crime films while winning him his first and so far only Oscar® for Best Director. He is also a strong advocate for preserving motion pictures from the Silent Age despite having "lost the fight" against digital filmmaking.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)