You Can Never Be 100 Percent Sure: Lodge Kerrigan on Keane | Interviews


How did you first become involved with the restoration?

When the rights reverted—they had been with Magnolia, the original distributor—Steven [Soderbergh] gave me a call and asked me if I’d be interested in remastering it. We thought about how to approach getting the film seen again, and I reached out to Ryan Krivoshey at Grasshopper Film, who expressed interest; that’s when Grasshopper came on board. 

I usually watch a film once, with an audience, then I move on. For me, the most interesting part of filmmaking is the actual making of it. Though I’m extremely appreciative and grateful to present work, and I enjoy experiencing it with an audience, that’s not something I do repeatedly. And so, I hadn’t seen “Keane” in quite some time. We shot on 35mm, and we’d made prints through a photochemical [process.] This was back in 2004 or 2005, so we also did the standard film-to-video transfer, so it could be released on DVD and wherever else required a digital-tape format. The color space, back then, was nowhere near as sophisticated as it is now, so I jumped at the chance [to restore it.] 

In that process, I was really very fortunate. The new version is quite beautiful. It’s remarkable, the things that you can accomplish not only with color correction but also shaping light. It’s important to remember that we shot the vast majority of the film in live locations, with mixed lighting sources. It was really a challenge from a timing or color-correction point of view, right from the start. There were also a number of shots that, back in 2004 or 2005, we originally did visual effects for—not CGI, just to correct for shutter problems in the camera and light flicker from fluorescent lights. We did that in a photochemical process; they created a new internegative. What we did was go back, in this process, to the original camera negative. In the digital space, we were able to restore those shots and fix those technical problems. They look much better. 

Given the aesthetic realism of “Keane,” what were your intentions when it came to restoring particular shots? How did you want this restoration to look?

When Keane takes Kira to the skating rink, for instance, there’s fluorescent lighting, so we were basically fighting the contrast between cyan and magenta. If you pull fluorescence, to pull cyan out of the skin tone, it’s going to veer towards magenta. [While restoring “Keane,”] we were able to find a much better balance, so the skin tones were more naturalistic. Within that, you have a choice as a director as to how much you want to beautify it or keep it well-balanced. At no point were we trying to make “Keane” look beautiful. That wasn’t the case … Beauty is such a political term already, and I really reject that. What we were trying to do is have it be more representative of the original intent, which opens an interesting question: When you’re remastering or restoring a film, 18 years down the road, how can you remember what the original intent was? That was part of the conversation. We tried as best we could to keep to the emotional and psychological intent of the film but, at the same time, find a better balance of color within it.

You can view the original article HERE.

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