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#1 Manu Delpech

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 10:54 AM

Very surprised that there's no thread about the film so far.

 

It's available today on Netflix and is also showing in 600 locations across the world (the film was released two weeks earlier in theaters exclusively), they're actually pushing this very hard in Mexico (there are even mobile cinemas ! that go around to show the film in certain locations), domestically as well, it's already been sweeping many awards, many for best picture, best director and best cinematography.

 

Chivo was supposed to shoot the film, they prepped and he had to drop out. Cuaron then took over and shot the film himself (Galo Olivares rumored to be the co-DP at some point, has a credit as cinematography collaborator (never saw that before) and camera operator). 

 

Here's the second trailer:

 

 

I'd advise of course to watch this on Netflix to get a better quality. 

 

Chivo & Cuaron discussed the film at a panel:

 

https://variety.com/...zki-1203085424/

 

The film has insanely great reviews and it's all deserved honestly. I couldn't get into it at first, it felt like I feel watching Children Of Men or Gravity which is to say, I admire and respect those films more than I like them. I LOVE A Little Princess and Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban though, Great Expectations is quite good too and Y Tu Mama Tambien is strong. But then something clicked about halfway through the film and I was in completely.

 

The film is completely immersive, there is no score but the sound design is very strong, I felt like I was witnessing this slice of life in person. Cuaron takes his style one step further by adopting a very minimalistic approach. The camera often pans across the scene, left to right, right to left, observing. At times, it's simply static and lingers. Other times, there are hypnotizing tracking shots (one just following characters walking across a dirt road, with a gorgeous vista and the mountains in the background, the camera is higher up on a hill. Another one on the beach, so simple and yet so powerful).

 

The B&W is also gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous, so pure. Cuaron explained why he shot this on the Alexa 65 and not on film and he wanted it, those memories of his, to be pristine.

 

 

Anyway, Cuaron has apparently pushed for theaters in the US to show the film either on 70mm or Dolby Atmos, but considering it's playing in many places that have none of those things, I guess he loosened up. Do try to watch it on the BIG screen with quality sound, it is worth it, I didn't think so at first but it is. 

 

 

A funny tidbit: the ending credits state the film was shot entirely on 65mm which is obviously not true as it's not film, but for some reason, Netflix and Cuaron have been pushing that narrative a lot :D


Edited by Manu Delpech, 14 December 2018 - 11:03 AM.

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#2 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 07:40 PM

I read its pretty much autobiographical ..the irony now that netflix is producing some of the best films ..and TV.. looks like it could be their first best film Oscar on the cards..?


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#3 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 11:26 PM

 A funny tidbit: the ending credits state the film was shot entirely on 65mm which is obviously not true as it's not film, but for some reason, Netflix and Cuaron have been pushing that narrative a lot :D


There's a lot of terminology confusion. I've noticed various review sites that mention the movie was shot on 65mm, or shot digitally on large-format film. Sometimes they say it was shot on 65mm using the Alexa 65, which is like saying that a movie was shot on 35mm using the Alexa Mini. I guess we don't have an exclusive term for large format digital cinematography yet.
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#4 Manu Delpech

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 05:54 AM

I think it's more ignorance. A lot of websites early on circulated the fact that it was shot on 65mm film because that's what most people (well, people who have some knowledge of film) associate 65mm with. Then, you had some people whining about a 65mm film being shown on Netflix. Then, I looked everywhere I could find info, landed on a rental website listing the film as using the Alexa 65 as main camera, then behind the scenes video where we clearly see an Alexa layout for playback, etc. Started correcting some articles stating otherwise. Then for a while, Netflix people were themselves saying "it was shot on 65mm", which is no big deal since many films are shot on the Alexa 65 these days.

 

Cuaron stated himself (there's a video on Arri Rental of him talking about it, others as well) that he shot this digitally on the Alexa 65 for a reason because he didn't want grain, he wanted it to be him in the present looking back at the past. But yet, he continues to tout the "shot on 65mm" bit (and asking for the film to be shown in 70mm shows that) and the ending credits stating this are very clear. A buddy of mine saw it in Rome, he's pretty much a nerd and he told me that the ending credits there did not have the "Shot entirely on 65mm" bit. 

 

 

Anyway, doesn't really matter. Do watch the film folks and if you find yourself initially being perhaps bored or wondering what the big deal is with this film, keep pushing, I felt the same way at first. 


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#5 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 07:34 AM

It seems a bit unnecessarily confusing. But I can get behind calling things "Digital 65mm", "Digital 35mm", to distinguish the format used.

Though to be honest, outside of an IMAX screen, I simply can't tell the difference between large-format and regular format digital.

I saw the film in a regular cinema over the weekend (probably in 2k projection), and it was glorious. I think "Slice of life" is a perfect way to describe it. The sense of 'living' through Cleo's experiences felt really strong, and Christ - that ending! My heart was pounding and my eyes started welling up.

The scope of the thing was just awesome (and I mean that in the older, more formal meaning of the word). The city streets, the hospital, the riot, the slums, the martial arts school, all felt as real and 'alive' as anything I've ever seen projected. Just magnificent.

The photography was exquisite in its simplicity, and its ability to simply hold you through each scene.

And HOW THE HELL did they get that final shot?!

How did the waves not disturb the camera? How did the camera keep travelling out there? How the heck did he light the thing to capture everything with the world's most intense backlight?! I couldn't detect any kind of a source, but I also can't see how even the Alexa 65 could have held that scene in its full dynamic range.


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#6 Manu Delpech

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 07:51 AM

Agreed on everything. That gorgeous oner on the beach: 

 

"Another complicated scene to shoot was the long take, using a horizontal camera move, when Cleo walks from a beach into the sea to save the children from drowning.

“The first challenge was to find an inland beach facing northwest in Tabasco where we were shooting,” explains Cuarón. “It also had to be a beach that had waves that were a specular and that was controllable in terms of people swimming. We had to build a pier so that the Technocrane would always be at the same level with the water and sand.

“The sweet spot for the light was 5:30pm to 6pm. I wanted to have six takes in the can before the sun disappeared to make sure that we had it. The day before we shot, there was a tropical storm that weakened the structure of the pier. The crane kept on derailing, not even reaching the moment where Cleo gets into the water. Rebuilding the pier and coming back again later was too expensive and unfeasible. We were able to achieve just one take. I said to my producers that I would have to live with the shot. I thought it was not so good. But, eventually, when I was in the cutting room I was like, ‘Wow. This is great!’”

https://britishcinem...so-cuaron-roma/

There's also an article in next month's AC magazine.

 

For the light, seemed to me like all available light really which seems to be what it was most of time they were outdoors really. The Alexa 65 shines on this, it wouldn't look nearly as good in color though. B&W can really make a lot of things that are boring in color really interesting. Not to deny the fact that Cuaron's work here is immaculate. Here's another conversation with Chivo:

 

https://www.indiewir...phy-1202028167/


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#7 Kemalettin Sert

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 11:28 PM

who is the actual dp on this movie? 


Edited by Kemalettin Sert, 15 December 2018 - 11:28 PM.

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#8 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 02:04 AM

OP mentions in first post.. a Co DoP and he was camera operator too.. TBH my money would be on him being the "actual "DoP.. with no doubt of course alot of input by the director.. and alot of prep had been done with the original Dp. who then couldn't do the shoot..   I guess a more generous dir would have given him the credit.. ? or this guy was magnanimous enough to turn down a full credit .. as alot of pre production has already been done.. 


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#9 Manu Delpech

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 04:46 AM

who is the actual dp on this movie? 

 

Alfonso Cuaron as I said. 

 

Also, Galo Olivares is not listed as a co-DP, it's just cinematography collaboration (whatever that is) and camera operator. 

 

The story about Chivo is that Cuaron wanted more days of prep, more everything and Chivo had other commitments. It's clear that Alfonso Cuaron IS the DP, not Galo Olivares. 


Edited by Manu Delpech, 16 December 2018 - 04:46 AM.

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#10 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 04:53 AM

 

Alfonso Cuaron as I said. 

 

Also, Galo Olivares is not listed as a co-DP, it's just cinematography collaboration (whatever that is) and camera operator. 

 

The story about Chivo is that Cuaron wanted more days of prep, more everything and Chivo had other commitments. It's clear that Alfonso Cuaron IS the DP, not Galo Olivares. 

 

 

Although he's never Dop,ed a film before.. and he could produce this camera work and direct.. I mean come on.. due respect to the guy... its impossible that the other guy didn't do the lions share of the work..I read an article that credits Olivares as shooting it as an up and coming DoP..

 

https://www.indiewir...res-1201793975/


Edited by Robin R Probyn, 16 December 2018 - 04:55 AM.

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#11 Manu Delpech

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 06:44 AM

 

 

Although he's never Dop,ed a film before.. and he could produce this camera work and direct.. I mean come on.. due respect to the guy... its impossible that the other guy didn't do the lions share of the work..I read an article that credits Olivares as shooting it as an up and coming DoP..

 

https://www.indiewir...res-1201793975/

 

Like I said, this is an old article. Galo Olivares was RUMORED to be shooting the film or at least being a co-DP on it. He was never mentioned since then. Cuaron said Chivo was a huge influence on the film anyway and went about it from a position of "what would Chivo do". Don't forget the film also had a 108 day schedule, shot chronologically. He had a lot of time on his hands. 

 

I doubt you can direct and DP at that level (as Cary Fukunaga did on Beasts Of No Nation by the way) without some huge help for camera operators, gaffers, etc but it's clear from interviews, him describing the process, or how certain scenes were shot, that he was the DP as he is credited to be. There's also an article in the January AC issue which will be even more enlightening I assume.

 

Doubt it all you want, but don't take credit away from Cuaron. It's an incredible accomplishment


Edited by Manu Delpech, 16 December 2018 - 06:45 AM.

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#12 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 07:29 AM

Of course due respect the the great director.. but really .. to be have never shoot anything and then claim to be the sole DP.. with a bit of help..I dont know .. its just a bit off isn't it ..

 

Olivares was rumored to be the DoP..? I mean he was there right .. ?.. who operated the camera . the fact they were never mentioned again is another story.. wasn't that article written after the film had been made..

 

Haskell Wexler shot half of the finished picture "Days of Heaven "and was credited with additional photography .. Chivo got an Oscar for Gravity and didnt even mention the CGI guy in his speech..   egos are at play in this business ..


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#13 Manu Delpech

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 09:11 AM

But this is Alfonso Cuaron, a highly visual director. He's said he's always been very involved (obviously) in the framing and composition on his films:

 

“In many ways, being my own cinematographer was a shortcut, because there were images springing directly out of my memory,” says Cuarón. “I’ve always been involved with the framing and composition for all of my films. It’s something that I design by the inch and discuss with Chivo. Sometimes when I was framing during the production of Roma, these memory smells would come to me and then I would know that I was going in the right direction!”

 

 

 

He also has this to say:

 

"The time you prepped this film informed me so much. I wanted to do the Academy format; you convinced me to go 65 and wide. That started to inform the whole thing. We started talking about lighting."

 

 

EL: You were setting up the camera, talking to the actors. When did you have time to do the lighting?

 

AC: That was fundamental. We’re going to be in the dining room. I knew roughly the shot. From the night before we start doing pre-lights, having extra crew working extra hours to start doing a pre-rig, then I would finish. It was a process. Embracing being a cinematographer forced me to be on the set all day long. When we work together, we work, I go away. Somehow I had to be there, that was triggering more details of the memory of the moment, it was very useful. I was there lighting, and composing. For me, it was: “What would Chivo do?”

 

EL: You tend not to follow the rules. With this one you are working with non-actors, using complex blocking. You are dealing with dancers who haven’t danced. Was this style developed during the writing, or found in situ?

 

AC: It was decided on the page, the script was densely described, including sounds. It has to do with stuff we’ve been doing together since “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” which changed my approach on foreground vs. background, character vs. social environment, and on “Children of Men,” we elaborated on that. On this one, I decided, “OK, I am going to trust that I already built that muscle and I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to make it happen.” When I would first describe to the crew the shot, they would think I was joking!

 

AC: First is to find the space, when I start lensing, to go through the whole thing. Timing was the most difficult thing. People ask always about the beach scene. What was more complicated was simple things like doing a round movement, a 380 inside the house. When Cleo is turning off the lights we have 45 different camera positions, the camera can’t be in one place and panning. It was a floor with lines everywhere. Even before bringing in the actors it was about sorting out the timings. But the actors had to have the flexibility to improvise. Something I learned from you was communicating with the dolly or the operator.

 

 

I have no idea where the Galo Olivares being the co-DP came from, I'm pretty sure it originated from The Film Stage (Indiewire just picked that up), but I never found much of anything else on the subject. Let's not forget that Indiewire and other websites were the ones spreading the lie that Roma was shot on 65mm film. I have no doubt that Olivares had a substantial role though.  

 

 

Key crew members were gaffer Javier Enríquez, camera operator/cinematography collaborator Galo Olivares, first AC Francesco Cavazza, DIT Ernesto Joven, and Technicolor LA colourist Steve Scott.

 

"We would come weeks or months later to mark where the track would go or where the camera would pan from place to place. The art department knew exactly what we were going to see. We would have to make considerations. I’d discuss with Javier the lighting of each shot. I knew that the camera was going to be cornered on one side framing the whole house with foreground and background.”"

 

 

About Chivo on Gravity, Seresin actually shot 60% of the film as he revealed in an interview. 


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#14 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 10:31 AM

Of course due respect the the great director.. but really .. to be have never shoot anything and then claim to be the sole DP.. with a bit of help..I dont know .. its just a bit off isn't it ..
 
Olivares was rumored to be the DoP..? I mean he was there right .. ?.. who operated the camera . the fact they were never mentioned again is another story.. wasn't that article written after the film had been made..
 
Haskell Wexler shot half of the finished picture "Days of Heaven "and was credited with additional photography .. Chivo got an Oscar for Gravity and didnt even mention the CGI guy in his speech..   egos are at play in this business ..


Before they hit the big time together. Cuaron worked as a DP for a while, and Chivo was his gaffer. Then when Cuaron started Directing, Chivo stepped up to DP.

I either read (or watched, cant quite remember which) that story in an interview with Chivo at some point.

Which is simply to say that Cuaron isnt unblooded as a DP, having a crack at it for the first time.
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#15 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 10:33 AM

"camera operator/cinematography collaborator Galo Olivares,".. well there you have it..  isn't thats another way of saying Co DoP and sharing that credit if you were of a more generous nature .. I have no axe to grind .. just sounds like a bit of ego coming into play.. 


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#16 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 10:41 AM

Before they hit the big time together. Cuaron worked as a DP for a while, and Chivo was his gaffer. Then when Cuaron started Directing, Chivo stepped up to DP.

I either read (or watched, cant quite remember which) that story in an interview with Chivo at some point.

Which is simply to say that Cuaron isnt unblooded as a DP, having a crack at it for the first time.

 

Never read that ..and he has not said that in any interviews Ive read about this film or others.. but obviously not something he was comfortable doing when Chivo wasn't available .. he looked for other Dp,s and wanted a Spanish speaker.. but anyway .. as my comments above.. why not just give a co DoP credit.. why the hair splitting.. I mean maybe they had a massive argument after the shoot who knows..  but something is wrong there..


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#17 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 10:52 AM

I mean when I won my award for best kept Hamster ..I gave credit to my class mates ,teacher, my parents and the furry rodent itself... in my acceptance speech and all subsequent interviews .. I didn't take all the glory as I could have done.. and it made me the better person.. 


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#18 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 06:16 PM

I mean when I won my award for best kept Hamster ..

 

With all due respect Robin you can't really compare the job of a DP to Hamster care.

 

I mean, one is a highly skilled job involving a complex balancing of time constraints and budget, aesthetic considerations, the state of the talent and rigorous schedules, while the other is just pointing some lights at actors.


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#19 Robin R Probyn

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 08:16 PM

Dear Mr Jaeger. 

 

Thank you for your well thought and well put points.. that being said ,Im afraid I must beg to differ..all of the attributes you claim to be solely that of the DP.. do in fact apply to the Best Kept Hamster Competition,..which was held annually at Miss Cornells Academy for Young Gentlemen in Zurich .. a stiff breeze off there lake would cause havoc with fur..the constant threat of sabotage from the bodyguards of the less trust worthy "foreign" pupils ..and the aching need for acceptance from Miss Cornell herself.. all these I assure you, go far beyond the rigors facing a DP on a large cinematic production.. indeed my best kept hamster trophy .. is front and centre of my awards cabinet .. literally and metaphorically putting my Emmy,s in the shade..

 

I remain your servant Robin Probyn BSC (British Sugar Company ) Ret


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#20 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 08:36 PM

If you read my comments more carefully Robin, I think you'll find I'm agreeing with you!


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