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Guest Tim Partridge

The late Sacha Vierny

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Guest fstop

I've always loved the hauting images of Sacha Vierny, the first thing that struck a chord was his eye-opening full light colour photography of postWW2 Auschwitz from Resnais' Night and the Fog. Proof that documentary could be stylised without being manipulative, dramatic without cliche. Those rigid tracking shots forcinbg the viewer around the notorious prison camp portray the space as terrifying as it was empty.

 

Vierny really made his most recognisable stuff with Peter Greenaway, and the two had some of the most electric filmmaking collaborations of recent cinema, right up until the cameraman's death. Belly of an Architect is a masterpiece of uncomfortable, (deliberately) slightly unbalanced composition- Drowning by Numbers and the Cook the Thief His Wife and Her Lover mixes cold and warm hues with a unsettling operatic facade, the latter to the very limit of taste. Wihout robbing their bandwidth, please check out this link http://petergreenaway.co.uk/drowning.htm .

 

Vierny is very much an unsung artist a genius who if you are unfamiliar with, for shame! :D

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Vierny really made his most recognisable stuff with Peter Greenaway, and the two had some of the most electric filmmaking collaborations of recent cinema

Collaboration is right. Vierny was a brilliant but shy and self-effacing cinematographer. I remember he presented The Cook the Thief his Wife and her Lover at a seminar here in Sydney some years ago. One questioner asked at some length, not about the colours, but about the full-square, architectural composition and framing of some scenes in the restaurant. After the question was translated at great length (he spoke no English), his brief reply came back from the intepreter as " I just shoot what the director wants"!

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What I admire the most about Sacha Vierny is his "consistency" in the way he built his filmography throughout his life. He was truly committed to his view of cinema, and that's what made him work with Greenaway, Raoul Ruiz and Resnais. I think his HEART and SOUL were put in these movies, of which he is also an author. I love those examples of life-long or continued collaborations, like Nykvist and Bergman, Alcott and Kubrick....I'm building one myself, but we'll have to let some years pass before we can talk about a "life-long collaboration". In the meantime, you can check the trailer of our last film "Tercer Mundo", shot in Chile, Costa Rica and Bolivia (in post-production)

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaIbjFThKB0

 

Thanks!

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