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"La Belle et la Bete" by Cocteau


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#1 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 27 December 2006 - 01:27 PM

Saw this film for the first time last night. Every frame, honestly, is like a classic painting. And those dark dark black interior sets are so great. It's great to think of how much light he must have used on that set, and to light the hairy beast.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It's a lesson in b&w cinematography...hell, cinematography in general.
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#2 Christophe Collette

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 03:41 PM

Definitely beautiful... I loved the lighting! Rented this a month ago or something, I had not seen it before but had heard a lot about it...

C
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 03:45 PM

I have this beautiful coffee table book by Alekan that I picked up in France a decade ago, called "The Light and the Shadows" (I guess -- it's all in French so I can't really read it, but it's beautifully illustrated, with some large format stills he took on the sets, like from "Beauty and the Beast".)
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 03:57 PM

Is this the book of which you speak, David?

http://www.amazon.co...s...TF8&s=books

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Edited by Jonathan Bowerbank, 06 January 2007 - 03:59 PM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 January 2007 - 04:03 PM

Yes.
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#6 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 05:49 AM



Here's one of Alekan's lighting diagrams for Beauty and the Beast and its corresponding frame from the book "Reflections." The frame is from one of his "slop prints" which were made from "negative test frames as a way to previsualize his lighting." I'm not sure if that means they are printed from a clip test of the 35mm camera neg, or if they are printed from a large format neg. I would guess that they're contact prints from a 4x5 neg, but I could be wrong.

Apparently, Alekan didn't even own a light meter, and lit everything by eye. He tells a funny story about being embarrassed into buying one on Anna Karenina and not knowing how to use it. The British electricians thought he was odd for not using one (although Douglas Slocumbe, BSC apparently never used one either).
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#7 Christophe Collette

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 01:00 PM

Wow!! Thanks for posting this Satsuki, I love the lighting in this scene.... Are there any more diagrams like this in the book you mentionned???

C
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 January 2007 - 01:04 PM

That diagram in "Reflections" is a reprint from "Des Lumieres Et Des Ombres", which has others.
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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 12:41 AM

Christophe,

It's the only lighting diagram in the Alekan chapter, unfortunately. The book David mentioned is only available in a French edition, I believe. I guess that might not be a problem for you, though.:)
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#10 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 09:53 AM

"Des Lumieres et des Ombres" is a veritable film school in itself. I highly recommend it and a French dictionary if necessary to get through it.`He also wrote a book called "Le Vecu et l'Imaginaire" that is also excellent - full of photos, experiences and thoughts about films and his life in general.
I was very fortunate to have met him a few times about 15 years ago-a remarkable man and cinematographer.
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 03:50 PM

I have this beautiful coffee table book by Alekan that I picked up in France a decade ago, called "The Light and the Shadows" (I guess -- it's all in French so I can't really read it, but it's beautifully illustrated, with some large format stills he took on the sets, like from "Beauty and the Beast".)


There is also a Cocteau diary of the making of the film:


Author Cocteau, Jean, 1889-1963.
Title Diary of a film (La Belle et la bĂȘte) Translated from the French by Ronald Duncan.
Publisher London, D. Dobson [1950]
Description 214 p. illus., ports.


Note Beauty and the beast, by Mme. Leprince de Beaumont: p. 199-214.
Addt'l author Leprince de Beaumont, Madame (Jeanne-Marie), 1711-1780. Belle et la bĂȘte. English.
Show similar items
Addt'l title Beauty and the beast.

The film was made under amazingly difficult circumstances.
& it was filmed with whatever surplus stock and short ends they could find on the day they were shooting.

Which makes it all the more amazing that it looks so beutiful and coherent.
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#12 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 11:53 AM

Yep. Cocteau whining about how long Alekan's set-ups took.
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#13 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 08:52 AM

Yep. Cocteau whining about how long Alekan's set-ups took.


Until he saw the dailies ;)
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#14 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 11:24 AM

Until he saw the dailies ;)


Then he would moan about his eczema.
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#15 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 02:22 AM

Just watched "Wings of Desire" for the umpteenth time, it too was of course lensed by Alekan.

Gorgeous film
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#16 Dallas Heinlein

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:16 AM

I had a problem of trying to get through the whole operatic singing. Some of the sets and costumes were beautifully created, an excellent job was done on those alone.
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#17 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 05:49 PM

Dallas, you watched the wrong audio track for the film. The Criterion version has two tracks I believe. One with the original French dialogue and the other with a new opera written by Philip Glass. And while I love nearly everything Glass does, yes, it was annoying.
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#18 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 03:09 PM

Here's one of Alekan's lighting diagrams for Beauty and the Beast and its corresponding frame from the book "Reflections." The frame is from one of his "slop prints" which were made from "negative test frames as a way to previsualize his lighting." I'm not sure if that means they are printed from a clip test of the 35mm camera neg, or if they are printed from a large format neg. I would guess that they're contact prints from a 4x5 neg, but I could be wrong.


In a slop test, a couple of feet are shot and developed on the spot in a stills processing tank.

I once PAed on a shoot where the DP, an old Czech or German did that. But he was shooting color negative
and I think processing in a B/W developer.

& between set ups the talent was in a quiet corner swigging quarts of beer which the shoot was obligated to supply him with.

Framing scenes for some sort of 'Faces of Death' fake documentary, not the same as a mocumentary.
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#19 Max Jacoby

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Posted 05 September 2007 - 04:49 PM

The film was restaured in Luxembourg I might add.
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