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The Fabelmans - Steven Spielberg / Janusz Kaminski


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I didn't really know what to expect from this film and I have been possitively impressed by it. It's really engaging and almost finishes too early, I would have loved to see an extended version that covers the period from his arrival to L.A. until he got his first direction assigments such as "Duel". 

From a cinematography point of view, I've gotten used to Kaminski's use of hot sources, overexposures and flares, they are well integrated and contribute to visualize the era. I assume this was 35mm with spherical Panavision Primos with 16mm & 8mm for the "home movies" segments, but is there any info about the diffusion filters? They looked to me like the old Harrison & Harrison Double Fogs (which are really a mixture of regular Fogs and Low-Contrast filters, not Fogs with a double effect), but the blacks seem to clean and unaffected to be these old filters. If there's a newer series that does the + or - the same as the DFG to highlights without lossing contrast, I'd like to know!

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I am going to run to the theatre because of the David Lynch cameo alone 🙂 Really looking forward to this film, the cast, the story, the cinematography by Kaminski who is one of my favourites. Thanks David - interesting to hear about GlimmerGlass filters, I think they produce especially beautiful halation (1 and 1/2 strength are always in my bag).

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Over all I felt the movie was very personal, which was nice to see. Great casting choices and performances were top notch. I think it'll get some Oscar nods for sure. However, I felt the main conflict to be pretty weak. Felt like a cookie cutter Disney plot sadly. I really wanted more out of the film and when it suddenly died, right when when it could have turned good, I was frustrated. I felt like the journey we were on, didn't really have an ending. It was very "open" ended, which maybe was the intention, don't really know. 

I did enjoy it tho, very much so. It didn't even feel like a long movie, which it was. I laughed a bit about some of the tries and tribulations he went through during his early filmmaking days. It was funny seeing him use a lot of the same equipment I had as well. Heck, even in high school shooting his first big film on a Bolex, I did the same thing, all be it, at a much lower scale. He was clearly very gifted, but also backed by his family. I was as well and I see the journey he took, going directly into the industry out of high school, was being the biggest dividing factor between his path and mine. Where I don't regret college, I think the 5 year side-track really derailed any long-term career goals I had. Kinda like putting out the fire before it was even lit. Where I did make a great little short film in college, taking 5 years off killed my career before it even started. Spielberg also had one thing I could never have; free room and board in Los Angeles. Man, watching the film I kept thinking to myself how small decisions early on, make such a huge impact in later years. I guess hindsight is always 20/20, but the world is a different place today as well. Imagine getting a meeting with Spielberg like he got with Ford? Think some young right out of high school kid gets that opportunity? 

Anyway, that's my rant for today, the film is worth watching for anyone who wants to learn more about the man. I hope it does well in the box office because it's worthy of it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saw it yesterday on a big screen, and love it! A simple family story told in such a beautiful, magical way. The actors are amazing. Shot on film, the lighting and colors are fantastic. Lovely texture - rich contrast combined with soft glow and halation, light grain and heavier 8mm and 16mm grain. I was not able to watch Spielberg's/Kaminski's previous film in a theatre due to the pandemic, and the digital copy of "The West Side Story" looked a bit strange, as if slightly tinted yellow-greenish. But the Fabelmans look perfect.

The camera is a great storytelling tool here - live and dynamic, but never calling attention to itself. Right until the last moment, with a nod to the horizon reframing advice by John Ford 🙂 This is probably the best ending among all Spielberg's movies for me.

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