The Wall Street Journal (US), March 19, 2012
Keanu Reeves Hits Hong Kong
by Dean Napolitano
Keanu Reeves landed in Hong Kong this weekend to attend a Sunday afternoon screening of his new documentary on filmmaking, “Side By Side,” part of the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
The actor — who has appeared in everything from slacker comedy “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and indie hit “My Own Private Idaho” to “The Matrix” blockbusters and Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” – produced the film, which takes on a topic that might seem a bit esoteric to most audiences: the science, art and impact of the digital revolution on the movie industry.
In interviews with some of Hollywood’s leading directors — including James Cameron (“Avatar”), Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”), George Lucas (“Star Wars”), David Fincher (“The Social Network”), Steven Soderbergh (“Contagion”) and Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) — Mr. Reeves explores how technology is increasingly pushing its way into the industry as digital becomes cheaper to use, and more and more directors turn away from traditional film as the medium to record their stories.
The average movie-goer might not be able to tell the difference between the two, but the shift has an enormous impact on the filmmaking process. By the end, though, the documentary’s conclusion befits a romanticized Hollywood ending: A filmmaker should go with his or her heart, and the medium is merely a tool in which to tell the story.
Addressing an audience of several hundred at Sunday’s screening, Mr. Reeves also spoke about his directorial debut, “Man of Tai Chi,” the martial-arts movie that he recently began shooting in mainland China.
The medium he chose? Well, he’s making it in digital.
“It all comes down to resources,” he said. “I wanted to shoot on film, but I couldn’t afford it.”