Joshua James Richards, the cinematographer who worked on the brilliant Chloé Zhao film Nomadland, has taken aim at Quentin Tarantino in a conversation about the quality of modern cinema.
Nomadland, a film that took the big prize at the Golden Globes to become a major Oscar contender, stars Frances McDormand as a traveller who reacts to the economic collapse of a small town by setting out to explore the mystical American West. The film offers yet another masterclass in acting by McDormand, her collaboration with Zhao makes Nomadland one of the best films of the year.
Interestingly, however, is the development of Zhao’s filming techniques on the project. With a minimal budget and working within the realm of digital filmmaking with a large cast of nonprofessional actors, Nomadland offered a glimpse at the potential future of independent filmmakers with a hunger and desire to muscle their creativity to the largest of screens. However, it is an approach that doesn’t always sit well with some of Hollywood’s leading names.
At a press conference at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, during which Pulp Fiction had the title of being the only film to be screened in 35mm, director Quentin Tarantino commented: “As far as I’m concerned, digital projection is the death of cinema. The fact that most films aren’t presented in 35mm means that the world is lost. Digital projection is just television in cinema.” It was a take that didn’t sit well with cinematographer Joshua James Richards.
“Tarantino says digital is the death of cinema,” he said in a recent interview with The New Yorker. “Fuck you, man. Chloé could get no backing, because she’s a Chinese woman. With digital, we could make our own movies for a hundred thousand dollars at the level they could be shown as cinema,” he added.