Film making is a complex and intricate art. The components required to successfully create a full length feature film are numerous and tend to vary from film to film. An average film production crew consists of Script Writer(s), Producer(s), a Director, Camera Operator(s), a Cinematographer, an Editor, a Casting Director, a set Designer, a Costume Designer, Sound Department, Music Department, a Hair and Makeup team, as well as a number of actors and actresses.
The history of film dates back to the early 1890’s, with the first ever paid exhibition having been screened to the public by the Lumier Brothers in 1895 at Le Grand Café, Paris. This 30 second clip depicted a train pulling into a station and it was shot at just the right angle to make it appear as if the train was coming towards the audience. Exciting stuff, right? In today’s time, it may seem about as enthralling as watching your moustache grow, but a century ago this was pretty spectacular stuff. Often covering their eyes during the screening, audiences were terrified and literally believed that the train was going to fly right out of the frame and run over them!
During this era, cinematographers (Also known as Directors of Photography), were the sole creators of the entire film production on set. There was little to no cinematic technique, usually no camera movement, and flat compositions reminiscent of the stage. Today, Cinematography is a broad combination of artistic techniques and camera technologies, which includes everything from aspect ratio, framing, lighting, camera movement to lens, focal length, and even the film/ tape stock or video/ digital storage devices used.
As a self-proclaimed film aficionado, my tempestuous romance with film began during the mid to late 1990’s. This was a time when films like Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction and Silence of the Lambs, quite rapidly grew in popularity.
I found myself hooked on the action, the horror, the suspense. This was my passion. I craved the thrill of i t. It was only in 2004 that I discovered the beauty of film as art. The spell-bindingly whimsical tale of Amélie, a Parisian waitress with a vividly overactive imagination, caught my eye as well as my heart. Besides a stellar performance by the lovely Audrey Tautou, the creative use of lighting, clever camera angles and signature close-up scenes, made this a truly memorable cinematic experience for me. This is where my love of cinematography and indie/ art films began.
So with that said, here is a list of some of my cinematographic favorites.
Amelie (2001) – Bruno Delbonnel
The secret life of Walter Mitty (2013) – Stuart Dryburgh
Titanic (1997) – Russel Carpenter
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – Anthony Dod Mantle
A.I (2001) – Janusz Kaminski
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) – Eric Gautier
Interview with the vampire (1994) – Philippe Rousselot
Inception (2010) – Wally Pfister
Black Swan (2010) – Matthew Libatique
Requiem for a dream (2000) – Matthew Libatique
Life of Pi (2012) – Claudio Miranda
Django Unchained (2012) – Robert Richardson
Inglourious Basterds (2009) – Robert Richardson
Road to perdition (2002) – Conrad Hall
American Beauty (1999) – Conrad Hall
Reservoir Dogs (1992) – Andrzej Sekula
American Psycho (2000) – Andrzej Sekula
Pulp Fiction (1994) – Andrzej Sekula
Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Tak Fujimoto
The Sixth Sense (1999) – Tak Fujimoto
The Shining (1980)- John Alcott
Barry Lyndon (1975)- John Alcott
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) – Dion Beebe
Equilibrium (2002) – Dion Beebe
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) – Robert Yeoman
Moonrise Kingdom (2012) – Robert Yeoman
The Darjeeling Limited (2007) – Robert Yeoman
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – Robert Yeoman
Gangs of New York (2002) – Michael Ballhaus
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – Michael Ballhaus
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (2004) – Ellen Kuras
A Clockwork Orange (1971)- John Alcott