Masterpieces of 20th Century Cinematography
It started when a friend sent me a list of the Milestone Films in Cinematography of the 20th Century as voted by the American Society of Cinematographers. My wife and decided it might be fun watch one film off the list every week and take a deeper look back at the cinematography. What began as a few notes has become full articles.
I’ve always felt that cinematography was an area that was under represented in film - this year they even talked about not televising it as a category at the Academy Awards Ceremony (thankfully they changed their minds!). Anyway, as I photographer I think there is a lot to learn from the masters about lighting, composition, and visual storytelling.
Oliver Stone's controversial 1991 thriller is an example of how visual authenticity can be a powerful and persuasive tool in political narratives. Together with his virtuoso cinematographer Robert Richardson, Stone used a brilliant mixture of historically accurate footage and reconstructed scenes to present an alternative myth about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Raise the Red Lantern (1991) is a meticulously framed, exquisitely beautiful and extremely claustrophobic film to watch. With its blend of formal compositions, static camera angles and daring color palettes, auteur filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s exploration of female oppression is simultaneously tender and detached.
Though somewhat overlooked when it originally came out in 1993, Searching for Bobby Fischer is a hidden gem of a film featuring stunning cinematography by Conrad Hall. A must-see for anyone interested in photography and cinematography, Searching for Bobby Fischer is a masterclass in lighting and visual storytelling.
This week we immersed ourselves in the delicate beauty of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours: Blue (Trois couleurs: Bleu), 1993, featuring the cinematography of Slawomir Idziak.
This week we revisited one of last century’s most widely enjoyed film classics: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), to take a look back at some of the elegantly simple cinematography of Roger Deakins.
I’ve challenged myself (and my long-suffering wife) to watch/re-watch every film from American Society of Cinematographer’s list of ‘Milestone Films in Cinematography of the 20th Century’. This week we revisited genre defining 'Seven', directed by David Fincher and shot by Darius Khondji. Here are some notes and observations from re-watching this visceral and gripping classic thriller.