admiralobvious asked: Can you comment on the significance of The Master being in 70mm? I keep seeing that mentioned, and I have no idea why
Why yes, I can comment on that.
Although I did not personally care for The Master, I believe it is imperative to see the film in 70mm if you are able. PTA actually did shoot on 65mm and then created two print copies to edit on film, 70mm and 35mm, for distribution (as well as the now-standard digital version).
According to in70mm.com, with the exception of the Cinerama Dome, the two other theaters in LA showing the film in 70mm (the Arclight and Landmark), had to install new equipment to show it in this format.
This is a beautiful example of a filmmaker (backed up by a lot of powerful people putting their money where their mouth is) sticking to his guns and really committing to something he believes in, at a production, distribution and exhibition level. I think this is ballsy and commendable.
So, simply because 70mm is the optimum, most desirable format in which to view the film, you should try to see it in 70mm.
From an aesthetic stand-point, the film is quite beautiful. 70mm may be partly a marketing gimmick, but it is clear while watching The Master that PTA has made conscious aesthetic and story choices to take advantage of the widescreen, large-scale & curved-screen offered by 70mm.
On an intellectual or historical level, it is clear that one of PTA’s reasons for shooting on 70mm is to recapture some of the stylistic bravado of the Roadshow era. The epic film naturally lends itself to this largest of film formats and The Master certainly paints on an epic canvas, albeit while re-centering the connotations of “epic” from exterior/landscape to interior/psychological.
I realize that only a few privileged people will be able to see the film in 70mm because of the rarity of the format and because of the resulting high ticket prices. But I don’t think you need to despair because I’m positive that the film plays just as well in 35mm. (Just make sure you see it somewhere with really terrific sound and adequate projection.)
EDIT: I have been reminded by my friend Ariel the film archivist that there is indeed a difference between “film format” and “film gauge.” 70mm is technically the film gauge. Just a little clarification there.
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