Posted 05 June 2007 - 06:05 PM
Does anyone in the NYC area have a spare ticket for either screening of Caravaggio this weekend? If so, please send me a message as I'm not counting on the stanby line for this one.
Posted 12 October 2007 - 10:33 PM
For all Bay Area cinematographers, Storaro will be vising the Rafael Theatre in San Rafael, CA!!!
Tuesday, October 16, 7:30
$12 (CFI members $10)
Italian artist Vittorio Storaro is, without question, one of the most innovative and influential cinematographers in film history. The films for which he has received his three Academy Awards?Apocalypse Now, Reds and The Last Emperor?immediately call to mind his great achievements. But even a partial list of his other films can only impress us further: The Conformist, 1900, Last Tango in Paris, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Dick Tracy and One from the Heart.
Vittorio Storaro visits the Rafael to present his latest film Caravaggio, an Italian production not yet scheduled for American release. As a prelude to the 35mm screening, Storaro will give a PowerPoint presentation of Caravaggio's paintings with his interpretation of their use of light and shadow.
Directed by Angelo Longoni, this biographical drama stars Alessio Boni as Michelangelo Merisi (Caravaggio), the social rebel who was also one of the great Italian painters of the 17th century. Produced for television but lushly shot on film, Caravaggio will be screened in its feature version of 128 minutes.
As a prelude to the 35mm screening, Storaro will give a power point presentation of Caravaggio?s paintings with his interpretation of their use of light and shadow. Storaro considers Caravaggio to mark a new period for his own development as an artist. ?I express myself through light,? he says. ?Caravaggio used painting and images to tell stories. The image is created by light and by its companion, the shadow. Film does the same. Caravaggio was a great visionary and a revolutionary. Through his painting he was able to tell his own life, exactly as a filmmaker always tries to do. Just like Caravaggio with his medium, I try to understand myself through cinematography.?
Over multiple films and diverse projects, Vittorio Storaro has been a favorite collaborator for several of the world?s finest film directors, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Francis Ford Coppola and Warren Beatty. Currently working on new projects with Carlos Saura and Alfonso Arau, he continues to experiment with what he sees as the essence of cinematography: ?Writing stories with light and darkness, motion and colors. It is a language with its own vocabulary and unlimited possibilities for expressing our inner thoughts and feelings.?
This program is part of California Film Institute?s ongoing series The Professionals, heightening awareness of the diverse creative forces contributing to the collaborative art of filmmaking. This program is supported, in part, with a grant from the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Special thanks to Silvia Bizio of Cinema Italian Style in Los Angeles and Nestor Saied of Titania Produzioni.
Suppored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Sponsored by Kodak
Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:03 AM
I saw "Caravaggio" at the Aero Theater on Sunday night.
The movie itself was decent but basically a conventional biography, enlivened by Storaro's work, which really captured the visual ideas of the painter.
The highlight of the movie was when Caravaggio wakes up and sees a shaft of morning sunlight hit the top of his unfinished painting of "The Calling of St. Matthew", giving him the idea to paint the ray of light in the painting.
The 2:1 compositions, especially in the wide shots, were fascinating at times, very much reminding me of the 2.20 : 1 framing you used to see in 65mm movies. This effect, though, was somewhat diffused by the overuse in editing of close-ups while actors were moving around a lot. Sometimes you could sense the budgetary limitations on a few visual effects shots and some of the wide shots of the cities.
I was surprised to see so many scenes where Storaro opted to use some sort of very light diffusion -- looked like a fine net. It was also interesting to see Storaro return to using the ENR process on the prints, which adds a slight amount of desaturation while strengthening the blacks.
For the most part, the approach was realistic, in that there weren't lights dimming up and down theatrically during scenes, unlike the very stylized "Goya in Bordeaux". It was interesting to see how Storaro played with different shades of warmth for the different night scenes, some very reddish (like the public burning of a heretic scene) and others very amber/yellow or white-ish.
Besides the sunrise scene while he was painting "The Calling of St. Matthew", the other scene where I really liked the lighting was when Caravaggio first sees his new studio at this cardinal's home; excited, Caravaggio goes around adjusting the windows until he darkens the room to his liking. It's almost like a lesson in how natural light in a room can be manipulated for dramatic effect.
Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:11 PM
This effect, though, was somewhat diffused by the overuse in editing of close-ups while actors were moving around a lot. Sometimes you could sense the budgetary limitations on a few visual effects shots and some of the wide shots of the cities.
My guess is since it was originally slated for TV release, they focused a lot more on getting closeups and didn't focus too much on getting the effects nicely polished. The shots of boats at sea were incredibly bad, I'm just hoping we saw an early print and not the final version...it seemed so, because some of the fadeouts were really rough.
I also thought the music was quite overbearing, again, this might be because of the TV thing...it's bound to be a little melodramatic.
Still, I loved the film, performances were great, the lighting indeed was very naturalistic (for a Storaro film). And the scene with the beam of light streaming in was really cool, especially after the lecture where Storaro really brought our attention to that portion of the painting.
Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:23 PM
Posted 17 October 2007 - 08:48 PM
I re-read the AC article and was surprised that the blow-up from 3-perf to 4-perf anamorphic (with a 2:1 hard matte) was done in an optical printer using an IP-to-IN, rather than a D.I.
In the Q&A afterwards he said it was all done photochemically, which was very cool
Posted 18 October 2007 - 04:03 AM
One interesting point Storaro made in the Q&A was that he was trained in the European system where the DP writes with light, but the director writes with the camera. So he feels less possessive about the composition than he does about the lighting. I thought this was interesting because he does impose a certain compositional aesthetic on the film with his Univisium aspect ratio. I wanted to ask him if he felt that every one of his films should be 2:1 or whether he was open to using the other aspect ratios as a painter might choose a different shaped canvas for a new composition. I didn't get the chance to though.
I too noticed the use of diffusion in some scenes, which when combined with hot rim light created a pleasant halation around the characters. I think to some extent it was to flatter the older female actress. I thought it was interesting that one of these scenes was lit with very traditional back cross keys, except that the proportion of the two keylights was radically different which made it look fresh and new. I loved the lighting in many of the interior scenes, particularly in the tavern and also in the scene where the Cardinal comes to his sickbed and invites him to stay at the palace. There, the little hut is completely dark, only lit by the sunlight coming through the window. Then the door opens and a silhouetted figure enters. His face is lit just above the threshold of visibility by the ambient light bouncing off the walls of the hut. I think Storaro may have gone a bit overboard with the ENR in the beach exterior at the end of the film, the desaturated yellow color and harsh contrast made my eyes bleed (literally).
Posted 18 October 2007 - 06:00 AM
My guess is since it was originally slated for TV release, they focused a lot more on getting closeups and didn't focus too much on getting the effects nicely polished.
I haven't seen it yet, but I think your guess is correct: they're going to air it on Italian national television later this fall, and then cut a different version for theatrical release. I'm glad and relieved most people liked it, because unfortunately most tv productions in this country are quite bad (then again, most tv productions don't have the budget Caravaggio had).
I wonder why they didn't go for theatrical release from the beginning, though it's not the first time I've seen that happening..