From ‘The Matrix’ to ‘Speed’, he is one of the biggest Hollywood stars of his generation. Canadian actor Keanu Reeves was recently at the Lumière Film Festival in the French city of Lyon to present his movie ‘Side by Side’.
It is a documentary that asks how film-making is changing in the 21st century, tracking the losses and gains of the industry's move to digital cinema.
Over the course of a year, Reeves and film director Chris Kenneally spoke to some of the world’s greatest film-makers about working in an industry that is in the process of reinventing itself.
“For me, in terms of ‘Side by Side’, I really went into it with the feeling of: is film, as a medium, going to go away, is it the end of film?” Reeves told our reporter in Lyon.
“Everything in terms of making movies, which I’ve been involved in since 1983, is it going to go away? Is it going to just be digital? So, for me, it’s just like an evolution, revolution and wanting to know what are we losing, what are we gaining by this moment?”
Producing ‘Side by Side’ made Keanu the actor want to give it a try behind the camera. A martial arts fan, he decided to direct his own movie, ‘Man of Tai Chi’. He says it was a steep learning curve.
“In terms of, you know, making a film, I had the chance of making a film called ‘Man of Tai Chi’ after working with Chris on ‘Side by Side’ and I learned so much about just what it meant, you know, with the camera, what to look for, what did it mean to your movie and post (production). And just what it does, and how it reacts, how to use it. So for me, it was also like a film school to make the documentary, it was really fantastic,” said Reeves about his experience as a film-maker.
‘Man of Tai Chi’ seeks inspiration in movies like ‘The Matrix’ for the combat scenes. In the film, Reeves cast himself as a corrupt businessman who organises rigged underground fights and tries to take advantage of a young Tai Chi prodigy.
An actor, a producer and now a director: at the age of 50, Keanu Reeves is proving to be a versatile artist, who takes pride and pleasure in what he does.
“I just want to tell stories, I want to be part of it, I want to do it in different ways and follow the interest, the passion, the emotion, be inspired, be inspiring, get inspired, man!” he enthused.
‘John Wick’, Reeves’ latest movie as an actor, is on global release from now.
Though it sees him return to action hero mode, this is more than just another action movie, he said: “‘John Wick’: It’s a really cool, fresh, entertaining action movie that’s not just action, it’s got some humour, lots of heart, lots of soul, told in an original, different way. It’s a good night at the movies.”
A prestigious guest for a prestigious event in Lyon – the birthplace of cinema – where every year, some of the world’s most influential movies are honoured, along with those who make them.
This year’s Lumière Prize will go to Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar.