I recently bought some strips of 35mm film off ebay. They’re from the 2007 remake of King Kong. Looking at them has made me realise what an incredibly excessive medium film is. How many thousands of frames it takes to make up a feature. There is, of course, the sheer volume of celluloid, hundreds and hundreds of feet rattling through the gate at 24 frames per second. (24 times 35mm makes 840mm per second, which is just over 3 kilometres an hour). Looking at the individual frames you also realise the level of detail: each frame a separate photograph. Just to maintain a still image requires constant repetition. But it’s the level of detail in a film like King Kong which is really remarkable. Every frame an intricate image of an elaborate set, with stunning lighting, CGI graphics, beautiful people covered in makeup, dressed and styled. A friend of mine makes staged diorama photographs and each one can take months to orchestrate and here in my hand I am holding dozens, if not hundreds, of beautiful, vibrant, widescreen images that I bought for under a fiver. But really, there’s nothing special about this, I am merely stating the obvious. What has shaken me to this realisation, of something which I already knew but never really gave any thought to, is that I am holding these images in my hand. They are not being projected, seamlessly melded into one continuous moving image. I am not sitting at a distance from an illusive and immaterial flat surface of moving shapes and colours giving the illusion of depth and depiction. I am holding these bendy bits of coloured plastic in my grubby hands. And they’re fascinating in the same sort of way as any perfectly formed miniature.
But what to do with this discovery? With these strips of plastic? They’re so small it’s hard to make out the images clearly and I don’t have a projector. Even if I did the film has been cut into short strips anyway so you couldn’t play it. It seems crazy that such small thigs can be projected so large and with so much detail. What should I do with them? Fuck knows. I just like them.