We are looking for recommendations for the films of 2010, but films that either grabbed your attention due to the photographic elements, or for looking at the role of the Director/DOP and interesting editing, use of structure and visual language to tell a story.
Photography, as we know is about considering the elements within the frame, what to cut-out, what to include, the lighting the subject and its context, the questions it ask of the viewer, the perspective of the photographer; did you see a film this year that really got you thinking about any of these elements or maybe you saw a re-issue or remastered film in the cinema that offered so much more than when viewed on the TV at home. If so we would love to hear from you and we will try and get a list of Ones To Watch for next week. Please try and make sure that there is something of real interest to the photographer inside you though- we don’t want hundreds of recommendations for The Expendables, unless you can convince us that the Lighting crew really did good work showing Stallone in his prime….. Oh and whilst we urge you all to keep your cinemas alive, especially the local independents such as our great Duke Of Yorks you can include downloaded films but remember the visual quality is often not as good as the Director intended.
Hopefully no accidental spoilers……
To start you off we have two of our most recent favourites,
The Killer Inside Me: This is a difficult film to recommend, and may risk alienating a large percentage of our readers, as this film is incredibly brutal and hard to watch, at times its sustained and unflinchingly levels of violence become so disturbing that I couldn’t actually look at the screen. I consider myself fairly unshockable when it comes to movies, and indeed this film confronts that assertion- violence, particularly screen violence has a long history of being milked for shock affect, or for comedic or even heroic purposes. Michael Winterbottom certainly raises this issue again- how successful this is, or how this misogynistic stance can be reconciled will be debated for a long time to come. As a photographer though this film stands out in two very key areas, the first is of course the portrayal of the female in photography and that of roles/roleplay and stereotypes, often mythical stereotypes of both sexes. The second area in which the film has received a great deal of deserved praise is the incredible cinematography. Marcel Zyskind who has worked with Winterbottom before, excels as a DoP and creates a film that is both beautiful and rich. This is a film that should be approached with some caution- it is not a film that you will come away ‘liking’, its dark and disturbing portrayal of a man losing his mind, surround by odious characters- this does not stop it being brilliant in many parts of its execution.
The second film that really grabbed our attention was the Darren Aronofsky directed Black Swan. In his debut film Pi, Aronofsky created an intense paranoid world, and used suitably strong cinematography, shooting in Black and White despite the obvious costs, overexposing deliberately to further enhance the frame, a use of a very claustrophobic set and using almost a digital/binary sense of photography even though it was shot in in 1997/8 and on a miniscule budget.
In Black Swan, Aronosfsky again teams up with pi DoP Matthew Libatique and creates an intense, hypnotic world, where fiction and reality cross planes many times. Although the majority of this film was shot on traditional film stock, a large part was also shot on 3 Canon cameras, the 7D, the 5Dmk11 and the 1DMarkIV, with Libatique abandoning the use of a focus puller and shooting on at 24mm lens at 1600iso. As a lot of the film takes place in a Ballet school its also a masterclass in use of, and avoidance of, reflection in the 360 mirrored rooms. A second very strong and beguiling aspect of this film, is the use of the Director of The Ballet School. Vincent Cassels character encompasses a number of facets of the Photographer, the power to manipulate, provoke and control his subject for the ‘greater good’ of the production or in our terms the ‘photograph’, it reminded me very much of some of the latter day interviews I have seen with portrait master Richard Avedon.
So there we are two great films that you should have seen, or make time to see and that hold a lot of interest for Photographers- but we would love to know any other recommendations, lets try and stick to the 2010 give or take a few months, (some films may not yet have a UK release date) and we will try and put everything into a blog post for next week. Feel free to add into the comments below or mail us firstname.lastname@example.org
Heres to a good 2011 in film,