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Cameras in the Movies / TV / Media If you are a photographer, it's difficult not to appreciate movies too. In this forum you can discuss movies, as well as the cameras used in them. What camera used in what film / TV show etc has long been a topic of discussion at RFF. Whether the Exakta and 400mm Kilfitt lens in Hitchcock's Rear Window or the Nikons in Eastwood's Bridges of Madison County, cameras are tools which reflect the time and technology of the film.

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Movies with great cinematography
Old 06-20-2013   #1
furbs
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Movies with great cinematography

I'm not thinking Academy Award-winning; more like movies that have a unique artistic vision that one of us rangefinder aficionados might appreciate. I rarely watch films but would love a few to wrap my photographer's mind around.

Two personal favorites are Badlands and Au Hasard Balthazar. An early shot in Badlands has perfect use of camera flare to set a small-town, early morning scene, and the shot of a young Martin Sheen letting a red balloon loose into a big, blue sky is so simple yet says so much.

The black and white tones in Au Hasard Balthazar seem to glow, and I love how the story is told through tight, close-focused shots. A shot of the donkey Balthazar wearing a garland of flowers is especially memorable, and of course the final scene with the flock of sheep.

It's great when the way a movie's shot complements the rest of the film and sticks with you long after it's over. What are your favorites?
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Old 06-20-2013   #2
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Blow Up and Star Wars. Hey you asked.
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Old 06-20-2013   #3
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Old 06-20-2013   #4
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Many, many of the American films from the 30s and 40s are so beautifully done that you could stop the projector at any point and stop on a perfect still photo.
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Old 06-21-2013   #5
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Too many to mention but some I liked are Antonioni's L'Eclisse and La Notte and I see "Last Year at Marienbad" has already been mentioned. I agree with mdarnton that many American films of 30's and 40's are gloriously filmed.
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Old 06-21-2013   #6
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Quote:
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Too many to mention but some I liked are Antonioni's L'Eclisse and La Notte and I see "Last Year at Marienbad" has already been mentioned. I agree with mdarnton that many American films of 30's and 40's are gloriously filmed.
The only Antonioni film I've seen is The Passenger, so thanks for reminding me of him. Last Year at Marienbad and Touch of Evil also look fantastic. The only one I've seen of all these is Star Wars
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Old 09-17-2013   #7
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Last Year at Marienbad is a great film, one of my many favourites.

Days of Heaven, one of Malick's best earlier work. is shot mostly at magic hour by 2 DoPs, also one of the cinematography treats.

Kieslowski's film usually have beautiful poetic visuals, The Double Life of Veronique is a good example.

Films by greek auteur Theo Angelopoulos is famous for his long takes and tracking shots, check out Eternity and a Day and Landscape in the Mist.

Films shot by Roger Deakins are usually visually stunning, check out "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford", story/pacing/structure is not as good, but some of the shots are the most beautiful I had seen in recent year, namely the train robbing scene and some of the timelapse.

Films shot by Emmanuel Lubezki are also very high quality, Tree of Life and Children of Men are two great example.

For more recent films, check out films by Paolo Sorrentino, The Consequence of Love and The Great Beauty has great cinematography in them.

Renoir, directed by Gilles Bourdos, shot by Pingbing Mark Lee is also beautifully shot, but suffers the same problem as Assassination of Jessy James, poor story/editing.

There is a good documentary on the subject worth checking out if interested in the craft, its called Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography
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Old 09-17-2013   #8
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Old 09-17-2013   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furbs View Post
It's great when the way a movie's shot complements the rest of the film and sticks with you long after it's over. What are your favorites?
Only my three favorites (there are so many):

1. Paris Texas
2. Hero
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Roland.
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Old 09-17-2013   #10
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Touch of Evil (Orson Welles)
The Killing (Stanley Kubrick)
Soy Cuba (I Am Cuba)
The French Connection (William Friedkin) great use of available light
The Conformist (Bertolucci)
Pierrot Le Fou (Jean Luc Godard)

these are all films you could watch with the volume muted and just look at the cinematography. All interesting in different ways.
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Old 09-17-2013   #11
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2001: A Space Odyssey, may be my favorite for cinematography.
There Will Be Blood, another film that is high on my list.

And from the trailer, Gravity, seems like cinematic eye candy.
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Old 09-17-2013   #12
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The Third Man, Days of Heaven, Lost in Translation.

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Old 09-17-2013   #13
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Blade Runner, one of the best ever.
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Old 09-17-2013   #14
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OK I am focussing mainly on cinematography here.

If you are into foreign movies, two of my great favourites are "Ran" by Akira Kurosawa and "Twilight Samurai" by Yôji Yamada.

Ran of course is famous as a Japanese rendition of Shakespeare's King Lear. The most famous and beautiful bit of cinematography in the film is the long castle attack scene in the middle half of the movie. Almost poetic in how it's depicted. Beautiful moreso than violent although there is plenty of that as well. Its shot almost as a dream sequence - and very effective it is too in conveying this feeling.

Twilight Samurai is a sleeper not known to any but the most dedicated film buffs like myself. Yes its a Samurai movie but not a flashing swords / ninja and heroics style movie.

Some one has described it as being as if Jane Austen had written a samurai flick as first and foremost its a love story.

And a beautifully told love story, too. In terms of cinematography Yamada made the film almost as if its a film version of an old Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock print. He spends a huge amount of time dwelling on the tiny details of family and village life in 1860s and the movie is extremely immersive as a result (but SLOW so those who want lots of action best steer away).

It effectively depicts Japan just as the feudal era was passing away and Japan began modernising. Superb, wonderful, lovely, lyrical, romantic it also has at the very end of the movie one of the most realistic sword fights I have ever seen depicted on film.

This is probably one of my 10 best movies of all time and is shot with great skill, sensitivity and attention to detail. Wonderful! You can turn off the sound and just watch the movie or turn off the subtitles and just listen to the Japanese language as you watch and still get something from this movie it is shot so nicely. It has a lovely soundtrack, too.

If you like early rangefinder glass a film I can heartily recommend is "The Good German". Shot just a few years ago in film noire style and starring George Clooney, TGG was filmed very carefully using prewar uncoated lenses to convey exactly what these noire movies looked like "back in the day".

I love the look of this film. "Goodnight and Good Luck" is another more or less in this style. As of course is "The Third Man" which is a real as opposed to a pseudo noire film made just after WW2 in Vienna - which still bore the scars of war as shown very effectively in the film.
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Old 09-17-2013   #15
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Old 09-17-2013   #16
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Girl on the bride - french b/w movie.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/mobile...on_the_bridge/
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Old 09-17-2013   #17
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Quote:
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Blade Runner, one of the best ever.
Blade Runner and Barry Lyndon....

Oh, and Citizen Kane
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Old 09-17-2013   #18
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Manhattan, Easy Rider, The Shining, Psycho, Battleship Potemkin, Amelie, Barry Lyndon, (Paris, Texas), Days of Heaven, Stagecoach (1939),

there are more but this is what comes to mind right now.

Others come to mind for great computer effects and other computer generated imagery, and as much as I like Blade Runner, I feel too much of it is computer generated, and not actual cinematography.
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Old 09-17-2013   #19
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Two old movies I saw again recently with beautiful b&w photography -

On the waterfront

Seven days in may
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Old 09-17-2013   #20
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Quote:
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Lost in Translation.
yes, this also gets my vote. my favourite movie of all time.
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Old 09-17-2013   #21
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Good topic
I would suggest anything by these cinematographers:
Jack Cardiff
Caleb Deschanel
Sven Nykvist
Gordon Willis
(and there are few more)
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Old 09-17-2013   #22
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Almost anything by Hitchcock.
I just saw a restored print of Vertigo at Anthology Film Archives in NYC a few nights ago and it was fantastic. Every frame was gorgeous.

All of the black and white movies by Akira Kurosawa and most of the color ones.

Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau

Full Metal Jacket by Stanley Kubrick.
The Shining.
Actually, most of what Kubrick produced could be a long series of still photos, he was that good a director.

Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Jaws.

Glengarry Glen Ross.

The Sword of Doom.

Night of the Living Dead.

Much of Ridley Scott's work.

Much of David O. Russel's work.

The Godfather and The Godfather II (first one has better cinematography)

The list goes on for a long time.

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Old 09-17-2013   #23
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Breaking Away
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Old 09-17-2013   #24
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anything by david lean (dr. zhivago, lawrence of arabia, bridge on river kwai)

kubrick (barry lyndon, 2001)

jean cocteau's beauty and the beast, my recommendation for most beautiful cinematography

once upon a time in the west

the searchers

so many more ...
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Old 09-17-2013   #25
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the seventh seal (dir. ingmar bergman, cin. gunnar fischer) - most beautiful looking movie i've ever seen

chungking express
fallen angels: trailer
happy together (all by wong kar wai - and all with amazing cinematography by christopher doyle)
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Old 09-17-2013   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post
Manhattan, Easy Rider, The Shining, Psycho, Battleship Potemkin, Amelie, Barry Lyndon, (Paris, Texas), Days of Heaven, Stagecoach (1939),

there are more but this is what comes to mind right now.

Others come to mind for great computer effects and other computer generated imagery, and as much as I like Blade Runner, I feel too much of it is computer generated, and not actual cinematography.
it was 1982, they barely had CGI in that movie if any. they used a lot of models. it's an amazing movie.
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Old 09-17-2013   #27
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Old 09-17-2013   #28
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some fantastic films mentioned, and I was pleasantly surprised to see The Seventh Seal and The Twilight Samurai, two of my favorites. Blade Runner too, but that wasn't a surprise.

I'd like to call attention to director Masaki Kobayashi's films, especially Harakiri. it is an UNBELIEVABLY well shot film.

I'm personally a fan of Nicholas Winding Refn's movies and Only God Forgives really outdid itself IMO. Valhalla Rising is a tough act to follow from a visual standpoint!

I'm surprised to not see mention of the 3 big epics (Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, Bridge Over the River Kwai), maybe I missed them? Lawrence is my favorite both visually and as a film.

It might be cheating but many Japanese animated films are great. I'd give the nod to Tenshi no Tamago, Kanashimi no Belladonna and Ghost in the Shell. More cheating is the TV show Kaiba, but if it were a movie it might be at the top of my list!

but probably my favorite film of all time excluding two of the ones in my last little paragraph is Alien. The cinematography really plays up Gieger's transcendent aesthetic work. While I think photographically this film is a bit weaker than some of the others I've mentioned, the overall visual effect of this film is so strong that I feel it deserves mention.
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Old 09-17-2013   #29
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Absolutely agree with The Seventh Seal, The Tree of Life, and 2001...I'd like to add Tarkovski's The Sacrifice and Coppola's Apocalypse Now.
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Old 09-17-2013   #30
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And others not yet mentioned:
Virgin Spring (Bergman)
Mirror (Tarkovsky)
Rear Window (Hitchcock) esp Grace Kelly's entrance and single frame slowed kiss of Jeff
And many more
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Old 09-17-2013   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post
Manhattan, Easy Rider, The Shining, Psycho, Battleship Potemkin, Amelie, Barry Lyndon, (Paris, Texas), Days of Heaven, Stagecoach (1939),

there are more but this is what comes to mind right now.

Others come to mind for great computer effects and other computer generated imagery, and as much as I like Blade Runner, I feel too much of it is computer generated, and not actual cinematography.
Blade Runner was matte paintings and overlays and such. Too early for CGI. Looked more real than a lot of newer stuff. Recently read the book on which it was based "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep". Philip K. Dick was the shiat....

At least four movies based on his stories, the three I've seen were great. I wish someone would film "The Man in the High Castle"...
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Old 09-18-2013   #32
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Night Of The Hunter directed by Charles Laughton with a menacing performance from Mitchum.
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Old 09-18-2013   #33
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...and, Fritz Lang's 'M.'
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Old 09-18-2013   #34
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Andrei Tarkovsky's 'Nostalghia' has been one of my favorites.
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Old 09-18-2013   #35
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Anything by Sergei Eisenstein.

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Old 09-18-2013   #36
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The Third Man
Tess d´uberville
Barry Lindon
The French Lieutenant's Woman
Casablanca
Amadeus
Ladyhawke

Anything Hitchcock
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Old 09-18-2013   #37
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Blade Runner
Gattaca
No Country For Old Men
Drive
Stalker
Assassination of Jesse James

I think Roger Deakins is almost untouchable these days.
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Old 09-18-2013   #38
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It's been a very long time since I've seen it, but Fellini's Amarcord sticks in my mind. And David Lean's Ryan's Daughter was a visual feast.
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Old 09-18-2013   #39
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I think I'll have to add The Train - the thought of which reminded me of the opening scenes from Mr. Arkadin which are stunning, - too bad the story and the editing are so awful (I am talking of course about the public domain version - there are so many different cuts of this film I can't be sure of what order the scenes are in others).

For animated films, a little known film that never received an official release, Twice Upon a Time is probably the most captivating looking animated feature I have seen. Shame the story is so weak.
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Old 09-18-2013   #40
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It only came out this year but I think 'A Field In England' is well worth a mention.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2375574/

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