And a really big projector
Paul Thomas Anderson may not be a household name like Spielberg or Lucas, but just watch one of his films and good luck ever trying to forget it. The man behind the camera of the brutal There Will Be Blood and the soul-crushing Boogie Nights is releasing his latest opus, The Master, later in September. It may or may not be a grand allusion to Scientology and it may or may not be the second coming of Joaquin Phoenix, but it’s got more than a few reasons to get you off of your Netflix queue for a night and into the main house of Brookline’s Coolidge Corner Theatre.
Why? Because what’s happening at the Coolidge is one of the rarest film events of the year and it’s not something to be missed.
The historic movie house has recently been fitted with the capability to screen Anderson’s The Master the way it was meant to be seen: in 70mm. Which means this is a really, really big screen full of detail and scope-and on film!
In case the term “70mm” rings no bells, when you usually go to see a movie at an art house like the Coolidge or Brattle, chances are you’re watching the movie from a film strip about 35 millimeters wide. That means that 70 millimeters—twice that size—allows for a higher image quality and that bigger, actually silver screen.
IMAX, eat your heart out.
This technological grandaddy has existed since the turn of the 20th century, but never really caught on because of the expense associated with creating larger film strips, oversized projectors, and expanding movie screens. But during the ‘50s, with a sort of race-to-the-moon between the television and film industries, the movie studios were desperate to find ways to keep their audiences from settling in front of the Idiot Box. Surround-sound and widescreen caught on, and for a while so did something called Cinerama, which took three projectors to show three strips of film side-by-side in order to create the illusion of an image on all sides (Disney World uses this technique in many of their EPCOT exhibits). But it was cumbersome, and woe to the projectionist who couldn’t sync the three together. Production companies like Todd-AO and others like it were founded to produce more 70mm prints, with the hope of enveloping audiences in the rich visuals of movies like Lawrence of Arabia and My Fair Lady.
But again, too expensive and too cumbersome for most theaters, and the practice fell out of fashion. The only two movies to be shot entirely for this presentation in the past 15 years have been Samsara and The Master. Only The Master is making its way to Boston the way P.T. Anderson envisioned it.
The Coolidge will begin screening the 70mm version of The Master on September 21. Best not to miss it: this rare print won’t be there for long.
And in case The Master whets your appetite for all things P.T. Anderson, the Brattle will be showing a retrospective of his five previous movies from October 20-24.
THE MASTER IN 70MM
RATED | R
OPENS | FRIDAY 9.21.12
COOLIDGE CORNER THEATRE
290 HARVARD AVE