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Daniel Carruthers

ASC awards 2010

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I can't say that I'm excited by any of my choices this year; they are all fine works of cinematography though. But this is nothing like the year of "Assassination of Jesse James", "There Will be Blood", and "No Country for Old Men".

 

My favorite five of the year for cinematography is (no particular order):

 

White Ribbon

Broken Embraces

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Coco Before Chanel

Inglourious Basterds

 

My runners-up list would be:

 

Avatar, Star Trek, Young Victoria, State of Play, Up in the Air, The International, Tetro, Where the Wild Things Are, A Serious Man

 

Possible candidates that I haven't seen yet:

Amelia, AntiChrist, Bright Star, Cheri, The Hurt Locker, A Single Man

 

But I also wonder about nominating "Avatar", the percentage of live-action is small, and what's there was augmented by a lot of set extension, etc. If one is really rewarding it for an overall visual experience, one would have to toss in Vince Pace, James Cameron, Joe Letteri et al.

 

If "The Hurt Locker" gets an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography, that would be the first Super-16 feature I can think of, unless you count "City of God", which was also nominated and was mostly shot in Super-16.

 

I'm surprised to see "Harry Potter," "Star Trek," and "Young Victoria" on your list, David.

 

"Harry Potter" won't win because it is too commercial, and "Young Victoria" won't win because either the story was marginal or movie tanked due to fierce competition from other films (only saw the trailer, but it got pulled before I even got a chance to go see it). When has Star Trek ever won an ASC award except for SFX or sound editing? I think, what Star Trek III or IV got nominated for cinematography. Star Trek XI was too shakey, like a "Bourne" movie getting nominated.

 

I think a Best Cinematography nod, for the most part, ought to involve some aspect of production that is new and original. Back in the '60s, it was split dioptres, or camera mattes. In the '90s it was bleach bypassing, out-of-synch shutters, multiple exposures. What about now? Have we resigned to SFX being considered cinematography? Are we really painting with light when some out-sourced team is painting with pixels 8,000 mi. away (13,000 km)?

 

 

 

Look at it this way: How many poor films, story-wise, or at least films that weren't entertaining in some sense, have won "Best Cinematography" nods?

 

 

It's handed out like a consolation prize, almost every year ("There Will Be Blood" being the one exception I can think of recently) and I am frankly sick of it.

 

"Serves the story" is a euphamism for the doling out of awards in this category, I'm afraid.

 

 

If "Avatar" wins, it will prove my point. I was hugely disappointed in last year's choice too, "Slumdog." Saw it, and it served the story, like a slave.

 

There was no boldness, no beauty, no splendor to the photography. It was formulaic, mechanical, rigid, completely unoriginal. Oh, yeah, they used a new camera. Was that a factor when an Arri was used for the first time on the Hollywood lot instead of a Mitchell?

 

I was equally appalled, for those who think I am knocking it solely because it was a partially digital movie, with "Diving Bell and the Butterfly" getting nominated. That's like shooting the Star Trek 2-part epiosde "The Menagerie" from Captain Pike's perspective for 90% of the episode. "Serves the story" yes, provocative, outside the box, original cinemtography, no! I've seen better cinematography from football games than that.

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I'm not disagreeing with the film stock used. I'm disagreeing artistically with the idea of making this film black and white.

 

Haven't seen the movie, nor even heard of it 'til reading this point, but you're a real jerk for criticizing a movie for being shot in B&W instead of color.

 

If anything, B&W is HARDER to shoot than color, so taking that extra challenge upon themselves and pulling it off gives them all the more Kudos in my book.

 

 

Watch "The Best Years of Our Lives" or "Citizen Kane" or "Raging Bull" if you're still clueless, dude.

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I understand your opinion, but I don't agree with it. I think that the film would not have had the same effect when watched in color. It would've been too "nice", too "green" and too "sunny", too much hope.

 

For me, it would have been better to see the "innocence" of the faces of the children... the blond hair, the freckles, the blue eyes... the "innocent" and sublime landscapes and fields and forests in color would have been an interesting setting for such an odd, depraved story. I lived in Germany for a couple of years and I always LOVED the colors there, especially in the summer. Afghanistan is the same way with respect to the people and their faces and eyes.

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Haven't seen the movie, nor even heard of it 'til reading this point, but you're a real jerk for criticizing a movie for being shot in B&W instead of color.

 

If anything, B&W is HARDER to shoot than color, so taking that extra challenge upon themselves and pulling it off gives them all the more Kudos in my book.

 

 

Watch "The Best Years of Our Lives" or "Citizen Kane" or "Raging Bull" if you're still clueless, dude.

 

 

Let's refrain from name-calling here, please.

 

Everyone is entitled to express their opinion, and it's inevitable that some will disagree. Let's just keep the disagreement civil.

 

 

Thanks,

-Mod

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It would be very interesting to see it in a color version and then discuss it again :).

 

But it's Haneke, so it will never happen (unfortunately?).

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I think that black and white suited "The White Ribbon" perfectly. It's Haneke after all!

 

Regarding the reasons for color stock (from a Q&A with Berger, transcribed by Emmanuel SUYS from cml). It's not a choice one can easily make I guess.

 

"The

film was shot in color for 3 reasons. First, the German broadcaster,

involved in the project, insisted on a color version of the film as an

eventuality. The existing B&W emulsions did not meet the requirements

needed. They wanted a newer B&W look, distance themselves from the

existing B&W films of the past. B&W filmstocks have not evolved as the

Colour ones. By combining the use of 5205, 5212 and 5219 with digital

post-production techniques (scanning-grading and some digital vfx)

Berger would be able to get the maximum of information in the original

negative, and so have at his disposal a large palette of colors to grade

from. This was needed not only to create this modern B&W look but also

it would allow Berger to work the indoor scenes with the strict minimum

lights or reflectors. Berger has a very peculiar way of lighting.

Haneke wanted especially the night scenes, if possible with no

additional lighting. Just a couple of chandeliers or petrol lamps In

some scenes the meter read-out in the highlights were around F 0.5.

The child coming down the staircase looking for his sister as a perfect

example. The night scenes were a constant on the edge shoot as far as

negative density was concerned. Color-temperature was at times way

below the 2800 K."

 

If I remember correctly, Deakins had a vary similar explanation about the choice of colour stock for 'The Man Who wasn't There'.

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Let's refrain from name-calling here, please.

 

Everyone is entitled to express their opinion, and it's inevitable that some will disagree. Let's just keep the disagreement civil.

 

 

Thanks,

-Mod

 

Sorry Michael, but I take exception to anyone on here who calls every film made prior to 1937 (or I guess the first two-strip technicolor movie if you want to get technical) dated and unworthy of their attention.

 

Some of the finest films I've seen have been shot on B&W. Even when that translated into color, the B&W cinematographers were BETTER because they knew how to sculpt with light, create depth, because they didn't have the "cheat" of color. They had to create it through contrast, diffusion, focus.

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Sorry Michael, but I take exception to anyone on here who calls every film made prior to 1937 (or I guess the first two-strip technicolor movie if you want to get technical) dated and unworthy of their attention.

 

Some of the finest films I've seen have been shot on B&W. Even when that translated into color, the B&W cinematographers were BETTER because they knew how to sculpt with light, create depth, because they didn't have the "cheat" of color. They had to create it through contrast, diffusion, focus.

 

:rolleyes:

 

I was only talking about this particular film, "Das weisse Band," not all black and white films. I worship black and white films like "Notorious," "Kane," "Casablanca," etc.

 

Congratulations, Karl.... you're the first member of my Ignore list here. A remarkable accomplishment.

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Pfft, I don't need a button or an algorhythm to ignore someone.

 

 

Not that you're listening anyway, but I still think you are saying that B&W movie photography has no place in the present day. I highly disagree with that.

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Pfft, I don't need a button or an algorhythm to ignore someone.

 

 

Not that you're listening anyway, but I still think you are saying that B&W movie photography has no place in the present day. I highly disagree with that.

 

I guess I took it more to mean that he wasn't sure if B/W was the right choice for "White Ribbon," which could be a valid point. There certainly are films I feel that way about. Now, I loved Deakin's work on "Fargo," but I think it would have been even better if it had been finished in B/W. The palette is so borderline monochromatic, and I think B/W would have really heightened the sense of coldness, of dread, that permeates the film.

 

But ultimately these are my opinions, and Fargo is still great.

 

BR

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