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Cesar Charlone's photography on City of God


Vincent Gallo
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If you havent seen City of God I suggest you do. Its has such sumptuous colours and texture, the camera work is outstanding also. It was a crime that he didnt win an Oscar last year as its the most impressive cinematography i've seen since Kaminski's on Saving Private Ryan. I think he's certainly a DP that could become a massive name over the next couple of years. I tracked down his work before City of God and that is excellent also, he rivals Christopher Doyle.

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Guest C.L. Washington Jr.

yes, City of God was an astonishing picture in every way... i loved it too. What did you think about the "contrasty" / "curvy" picture, Man on Fire? The colors were not as brilliant as City of God, but it did make for an interesting "paint-like" picture.

 

C.L.

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Vincent, any particular recommendations from Charlone's earlier work? "City of God" is absolutely gorgeous, I love the colors as well...

 

C.L., if you're interested, there was a thread I started awhile ago on "Man On Fire" which got a lot of interesting response, you could search Paul Cameron (the DP) and find it. I think it's great as well, "City of God" was a very conscious reference for them if I recall the ICG magazine article correctly. I felt that both films had really wonderful textures in them.

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Vincent, any particular recommendations from Charlone's earlier work?  "City of God" is absolutely gorgeous, I love the colors as well...

 

 

 

If you can track down the short film that formed the basis for "City of God" I believe it's called "Golden Gate/Palace 2" your appreciation for Charlone's skills will increase.

 

Not sure if you can rent the film [maybe a video rental store specializing in Brazilian films- or via Netlflix or Facets in Chicago] but it often plays as part of the shorts program on Sundance channel.

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Vincent, any particular recommendations from Charlone's earlier work?  "City of God" is absolutely gorgeous, I love the colors as well...

 

C.L., if you're interested, there was a thread I started awhile ago on "Man On Fire" which got a lot of interesting response, you could search Paul Cameron (the DP) and find it.  I think it's great as well, "City of God" was a very conscious reference for them if I recall the ICG magazine article correctly.  I felt that both films had really wonderful textures in them.

 

 

Here's a quote from Denzil Washington about Man on Fire.

 

Q: When the camera is whipping around, do you realize what Tony Scott's vision of how the film should look is?

 

DENZEL: Early on, he got me a copy of City of God. That cinematographer [Cesar Charlone] was the operator on this movie. Tony did this BMW film [The Hire: Beat the Devil], and there was a lot of that style in it, and he showed it to me. I was game for it. I like change. I don't want to do the same thing all the time. I knew there would be a lot of extra shots and this spinning camera that I called "The Vomit Comet."

 

 

He says Charlone was camera operator on Man on Fire, is this a mistake ? he's not listed and its Paul Cameron thats listed as DP.

 

You can read the full Denzil article here;

 

Denzil Washington Man of Fire interview

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Well, I'd assume Denzel knows better than I do. The article I read is in ICG Magazine (April 2004) and it didn't mention Charlone, though Cameron does talk about shooting with multiple cameras on many scenes, and somebody's certainly got to operate each of them. I'm just speculating here, but maybe Charlone wasn't "officially" operating because of union issues? One rumor I've heard floating around was that Charlone was initially brought on as DP, but was replaced by Paul Cameron before the shoot got under way.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Guest Sebastian Acosta
Well, I'd assume Denzel knows better than I do.  The article I read is in ICG Magazine (April 2004) and it didn't mention Charlone, though Cameron does talk about shooting with multiple cameras on many scenes, and somebody's certainly got to operate each of them.  I'm just speculating here, but maybe Charlone wasn't "officially" operating because of union issues?  One rumor I've heard floating around was that Charlone was initially brought on as DP, but was replaced by Paul Cameron before the shoot got under way.

 

The truth is that Charlone was invited by Scott to work under Paul Cameron, and he accepted basically for watching the making-off a Hollywood blockbuster and for the money. It can be summarized with his words: "I considered it like a paid vacation". Here is a fragment of the interview to the uruguayan newspaper El Observador (Charlone is also from Uruguay, despite he works basically in Brasil):

 

Charlone' interview

 

Charlone, quien estuvo nominado al Oscar en su última edición por la fotografía de Ciudad de Dios, reconoce que la presión cuando se filma una producción con tanto dinero de por medio es muy grande, aunque aclara que él estaba ?en una posición muy cómoda? en el rodaje de Hombre en llamas. Cuenta Charlone: ?en un principio a mi no me interesaba hacer el trabajo. Tony Scott, que es una persona muy encantadora, fue muy canchero cuando me llamó desde Estados Unidos a Brasil para ofrecerme el trabajo. En primer lugar le dije que no aceptaba: 'Ya tengo 52 años y no estoy en edad para hacer cámara', le dije, excusándome. Entonces él muy canchero me pregunta: '¿Cuánto tiempo hace que trabajas en cine?'. 'Treinta años', le respondo. '¿Y no te morís de curiosidad por saber cómo es una superproducción de Hollywood por dentro?', me dice. Y, la verdad, sí tenía curiosidad. Entonces, Scott insiste: 'Dale, veníte. Mirás cómo es todo, te divertís y te ganás una buena guita'. Ya no pude decir que no. Me lo tomé como una vacación paga. En las horas libres me dediqué a observar y filme todo lo que veía en una especie de Crónica de un paisano en Hollywood. Una de las cosas que más me llamó la atención fue el miedo con los que trabajan los técnicos. Allí puede haber lo que se llama "expulsión sumaria". Los productores ven lo que se filma diariamente desde sus oficinas y de repente mandan una carta que dice: 'despedir al director de fotografía y a sus tres operadores de cámara'. La gente trabaja con mucho miedo a esa figura ausente, que es el productor?.

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Would you care to translate please?

 

Rough translation I did just so I could know what was said - I left in the gramatical errors because I didn't want to assume anything and, frankly, I like the dialogue this way:

 

Charlone, who was nominated al Oscar in his last edition by the God City photography, recognizes that the pressure when is filmed a production with so much money in between is very large, although clarifies that he was ?in a very comfortable position? in the filming of Man in flames. He counts Charlone: ?at first to my did not he interest me to do the work. Tony Scott, that is a very charming person, he was very experienced when United from States to Brazil he called me to offer me the work. In the first place I told him that he did not accept: 'Already I am 52 years old and I am not in age to do camera', I told him, excusing me. Then he very experienced asks me: '¿how long is it that you work in movies?' 'Thirty years', I respond him. '¿And you do not die of curiosity by knowing how is a superproducción of Hollywood inside?', tells me. And, the truth, yes had curiosity. Then, Scott insists: 'you Give him, veníte. Mirás how is all, entertain you and you ganás a good twine'. No longer I was able to say that not. I took it me as a vacation pay. In the hours free I dedicated me to observe and film everything that saw in a species of Chronicle of a compatriot in Hollywood. One of the things that more the attention called me was the fear with the ones that work the technicians. There it can have what is called "summary expulsion". The producers see what is filmed daily since their offices and suddenly they send a letter that says: 'to say good-bye al director of photography and to their three users of camera'. The people works with a lot of fear to that absent figure, that is the producer?.

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  • 3 years later...
  • 8 months later...

*updated* for future reference

 

City of God

 

Camera

Aaton 35-III, Zeiss and Angenieux Lenses

Aaton A-Minima, Zeiss and Angenieux Lenses

Aaton XTR Prod, Zeiss and Angenieux Lenses

 

Laboratory

Megacolor, Brazil

 

Film length (metres)

3573 m (Sweden)

3557 m (Switzerland)

 

Film negative format (mm/video inches)

16 mm (Eastman EXR 50D 7245, Kodak Vision 250D 7246, Vision 200T 7274, Vision 500T 7279)

35 mm (Eastman EXR 50D 5245, Kodak Vision 250D 5246, Vision 200T 5274, Vision 500T 5279)

 

Cinematographic process

Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format)

Super 16 (source format)

Super 35 (source format)

 

Printed film format

35 mm (spherical) (partial blow-up)

 

Aspect ratio

1.85 : 1

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Rough translation I did just so I could know what was said - I left in the gramatical errors because I didn't want to assume anything and, frankly, I like the dialogue this way:

 

Charlone, who was nominated al Oscar in his last edition by the God City photography, recognizes that the pressure when is filmed a production with so much money in between is very large, although clarifies that he was ?in a very comfortable position? in the filming of Man in flames. He counts Charlone: ?at first to my did not he interest me to do the work. Tony Scott, that is a very charming person, he was very experienced when United from States to Brazil he called me to offer me the work. In the first place I told him that he did not accept: 'Already I am 52 years old and I am not in age to do camera', I told him, excusing me. Then he very experienced asks me: '¿how long is it that you work in movies?' 'Thirty years', I respond him. '¿And you do not die of curiosity by knowing how is a superproducción of Hollywood inside?', tells me. And, the truth, yes had curiosity. Then, Scott insists: 'you Give him, veníte. Mirás how is all, entertain you and you ganás a good twine'. No longer I was able to say that not. I took it me as a vacation pay. In the hours free I dedicated me to observe and film everything that saw in a species of Chronicle of a compatriot in Hollywood. One of the things that more the attention called me was the fear with the ones that work the technicians. There it can have what is called "summary expulsion". The producers see what is filmed daily since their offices and suddenly they send a letter that says: 'to say good-bye al director of photography and to their three users of camera'. The people works with a lot of fear to that absent figure, that is the producer?.

 

Sounds really condescending at most, and very strange at least.

 

Why have him Op a camera? Would make more sense if it was in a consultants position or something. Also, to entice him on board by stating that he can see how a "Hollywood Blockbuster" is shot after 30 years in the business, is condescending. I don't know how accurate this is, but jeez.

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Sounds really condescending at most, and very strange at least.

 

Why have him Op a camera?

Why is it condescending to offer someone a job as a camera operator? He's a good operator, which, I assume, is the reason they wanted him to work on the movie. I don't see what's so strange about that.

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