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Children of Men


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#1 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 01:47 PM

Just saw this today and was very impressed with it both as a movie and in its cinematography. Lubezki's work is superb, particularly the dawn sequences of which there are many. Special praise must go to both the Richmond brothers who operated and focused on A camera. The entire movie is a tribute to the skill of these men. Composed largely of long 4 minutes plus shots, mostly handheld and expertly staged with some huge background action. This is easily the sharpest big budget film ive seen in a long time which is no small thing in this day of shooting the rehersals and working wide open - especially not with the complexity of some of these shots.
Visual effects should also be mentioned - seamless and in one case in particular, sublime.
Well worth catching in a good sized screen.
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#2 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 02:46 PM

Looked great. And was a (as far as I could tell) virtually unlit for many of the day, dusk and dawn sequences. Looked like it was slightly bleach-bypassed. Nice work by Lubezki. And some fantastic operating as mentioned - especially one scene will go down in history as a real Kubrickian effort, in my view. Marvellous.

My camera assistant was assiting on it for some of the tests, and Lubezki apparently tested every lens there was with the intention of shooting on old, uncoated lenses. I think they settled for S4's in the end because he liked they way the flared (or not flared - can't remember).

Don't think the story delivered, though. But a good effort.
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#3 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 04:47 PM

I think they settled for S4's in the end because he liked they way the flared (or not flared - can't remember).



According to the small article in ICG they used Master Primes so he could shoot at T2 for day exteriors and interiors - presumably he shot at 1.3 for the dusk scenes. Those arent the lightest lenses in the world and makes the handheld operating all the more impressive, never mind pulling focus at T2 on some of those extended shots. Article also mentions they used ACE on the prints.
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#4 Max Jacoby

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 04:59 PM

In the latest Arri News there is a picture with a 235 and a Cooke S4 lens. That's for the long scene in the car where moves sideways and lenghtways.
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#5 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 03:41 AM

In the latest Arri News there is a picture with a 235 and a Cooke S4 lens. That's for the long scene in the car where moves sideways and lenghtways.


Interesting - maybe they carried a set of S4's to fill in the gaps of the Master Prime range?
Is that article online Max?
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#6 Max Jacoby

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 06:18 AM

Hi Stephen

I had a second look. There are two pictures, one with a Master Prime and one with a Cooke S4. I suspect the Cooke lens is from a test rig they tried in the states first to show Lubezki.
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#7 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 23 September 2006 - 07:38 AM

Hi Stephen

I had a second look. There are two pictures, one with a Master Prime and one with a Cooke S4. I suspect the Cooke lens is from a test rig they tried in the states first to show Lubezki.



Thanks Max - i suspect AC will have a more detailed article in its next edition - should be an interesting read.
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#8 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 03:20 PM

Wow, this film was amazing! Perhaps this is the first time this year i've been blown away by a new release.

That finale sequence in the ghetto was astounding, it felt like one continuous take - i didn't notice a single cut. The unlit lighting style really showed how far you can push film to its athetic limits where it still holds up.

The directing to was strong - I need to watch it again but like Curan's last few films if felt really detailed, layerd with inuendo. It also continues his past use of layers of action within the frame, excellent use of foreground and background, also completly emotionally satisfying too.


For me this was definatly the best big-budget film i've seen this year.

The only thing that ruined it personaly was a bunch of 'towny' teenagers who were sitting at the back of the cinema making a noise, but hey its an excuse to see it again.
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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 04:34 PM

This is easily one of the sharpest films I've ever seen, I don't recall a single soft shot in there. Also the DI by Capital FX was very good, nice color rentition and only the occasional flattening of the picture. I'd be curious to know whether it was 4K. The ICG article doesn't mention the specifics of the DI, hopefully the AC article will have more information.

The cinematography, as mentioned by Adam, was of a similar approach as 'The New World' although that film felt lusher, more painterly. Here it was harder, but that was appropriate for the film. It was interesting to see how they pushed the lenses, shooting straight into the sun or bright lights. I think the Master Primes held up incredibly well.

Although I was really impressed by the technical aspects of the film, as well as the production design, which I thought was outstanding, the film itself did not touch me on an emotional level unfortunately. Somehow I was never really drawn into this world.

One question I did ask myself though, and which as far as I know wasn't answered by the film, is why they just didn't resort to cloning to create babies.
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#10 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 04:07 PM

One question I did ask myself though, and which as far as I know wasn't answered by the film, is why they just didn't resort to cloning to create babies.


:lol: Max that's probably the most annoying statement ever, you could say something similar about every film, play or book.

Hamlet - why didn't he just kill his uncle...

Macbeth - why didn't he just be nice to everyone after he killed Duncan, or better yet why not not kill Duncan and let the prophecy hold its naturual course....

... you could literaly go on for ever.


I understand what people say about how they found it non emotionaly engaging... the characters are cold, distilled even - much the issue with characters from say a Graham Greene novel - I think though with a few reviewings and a little patience I think there's more depth to this film than, what the critics are saying about it.
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 06:27 PM

:lol: Max that's probably the most annoying statement ever

I guess there are some people who would disagree with that ;)

But seriously, this film took great pains to create a believeable world, so I was surprised to see that the issue wasn't specifically adressed. They talk about women having miscariages and then not being pregnant anymore, so maybe that's supposed to explain it. It's not like it took me out of the film, there was just one point where I wondered.

Speaking of plotholes, the most glaring one in recent memory was in Pirates of the Carribean, where I was constantly asking myself why no one just threw the bloddy black pearl overboard and finished the whole mess. There is one awful scene where the captain 'talks' Kiera Knightely into giving it to him, which she does for no other apparent reason than that the film would have finished otherwise...
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#12 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 06:55 AM

But seriously, this film took great pains to create a believeable world, so I was surprised to see that the issue wasn't specifically adressed. They talk about women having miscariages and then not being pregnant anymore, so maybe that's supposed to explain it. It's not like it took me out of the film, there was just one point where I wondered.

Speaking of plotholes, the most glaring one in recent memory was in Pirates of the Carribean, where I was constantly asking myself why no one just threw the bloddy black pearl overboard and finished the whole mess. There is one awful scene where the captain 'talks' Kiera Knightely into giving it to him, which she does for no other apparent reason than that the film would have finished otherwise...


I don't think the issue of cloning is a plothole just something which wasn't dealt with in exposition. However plot holes are often a problem with sci-fi, fantasy and action films, firstly because they have to move at a fast pace, which doesn't always give time to explain, and secondly because as they are all 'fantastical' your in a solution where you could dream-up a solution easily.

I would say Jurrasic Park is probably one of the worst films for blatant plot holes.

However with regards to Children of Men I can't help feeling that Curan has no intention of giving exposition of how it happened, why it happened, why there's no solution, because he's simply not interested in that. He's interested in the social and emotional consequences rather. Plus a lack of explanation leads to a healthy amount of ambiguity.

I remember when i saw his Harry Potter film, and said to some friends who were avid readers of the books how impressed at how well made it was and supprisingly 'deep' it was too. They were too disgusted that he'd cut out so much exposition, the origin of the mauralders map, the meaning of the stag in the woods - I was like, who cares?

Infact with regards to the stag, the ambiguity actually makes it stronger, its as if its like a simbol of masculinity (All That Heaven Allows, Bambi) which Harry is discovering in him self after his recent traumas.

Edited by Andy_Alderslade, 01 October 2006 - 06:55 AM.

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#13 Anatole Sloan

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 09:40 AM

Children of Men, in my view, was the first great film of the century; it is stunningly gritty and the cinematography is brilliant. A great film.
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#14 Max Jacoby

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 01:21 PM

So in the previous 6 and a half years you haven't seen a single great film? Sounds like you're even harder to please than myself, as I've seen at least 4-5 great films, and I don't include 'Children of Men' in that.
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#15 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 01:43 PM

So in the previous 6 and a half years you haven't seen a single great film? Sounds like you're even harder to please than myself, as I've seen at least 4-5 great films, and I don't include 'Children of Men' in that.


To be honest in the rare instance when I see a film that really amazes or blows me away, I can't help feeling its the greatest film ever - for about a week, maybe two.
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#16 Gareth Munden

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 02:01 PM

went to see "Children of men" Sunday.

5/10 I think, some poor mans "Saving private Ryan" and a lot of six form politics .
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#17 Chayse Irvin

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 10:04 PM

To be honest in the rare instance when I see a film that really amazes or blows me away, I can't help feeling its the greatest film ever - for about a week, maybe two.


It's cool that its inspired you so much. I cant wait to see it.
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#18 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 03:33 AM

went to see "Children of men" Sunday.

5/10 I think, some poor mans "Saving private Ryan" and a lot of six form politics .

Huh? What's 5/10 and what's six form politics? Am I missing something because I'm not British?
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#19 Anatole Sloan

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 10:23 AM

Huh? What's 5/10 and what's six form politics? Am I missing something because I'm not British?

5/10 - I think he means literally half marks, i.e. 2 1/2 stars

Six Form politics - sixth form is the top two years in senior school in Britain
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#20 Mark Williams

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 11:30 AM

I went to see this film expecting to see a futuristic gritty sci fi flick.. What I got was a warning of where society is going and sometimes even gone.. Its a possible future one we should all pay attenton to because the people involved in making this film have used todays political landscape and governments policy's and exaggerated ..BUT not that Much.. This is a great film and need more Political comment like this.. Even if some people disaprove it sends a message to society and government YOUR watching us were watching you..

BUT beyond the political comment it was gripping some great moments I loved the bit where they were pushing the car and she let the clutch out to soon that is SOO Typical and the bit where he laid out the bloke.. Felt that.. some beautiful Inspiring cinematography Sometimes not filling the picture any old bits n bobs but filled with history character and all the more real for it..

The best bit was the Acting though that suited the feel and was a bridge for the subject matter and the political comment ..

I was a little disapointed by the ending I would like to have seen a happy one I like happy endings If the kid had united the world that could have been a great resolution.. ?

In one car scene as they were driving, the camera was handheld in front of them and moving around.. I could understand a stationary camera fixed to the bonnet BUT this must have had the windscreen removed and been either on a trailer or green screen My guess was a green screen.. I wish I knew how they did this?
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