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Vertical recession / Nationalist cinematography


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#1 Hugh Thomson

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 11:43 AM

I am about to start working on a cinematography related thesis, and looking at focusing on the work of Asakazu Nakai & Kazuo Miyagawa (both worked with Akira Kurosawa). I am particularly interested in the shots utilizing vertical recession, a form of perspective used in early Asian art from Japan, Tibet, India etc, before Western perspective (vanishing points) was introduced.

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This was done by shooting on a long focal length at a high f-stop from an elevated position. Characters in the foreground are not much larger than those in the background. The actor's position is made apparent by his/her height in the frame. I am assuming that this was done in films like Seven Samurai because it is a very Japanese form of traditional composition.

Basically, I was wondering if anyone could name a few other films/cinematographers that draws on culturally specific techniques in their work. Either that or any cinematography that directly mimics an artist. It could be anything such as color scheme/theme/perspective and so on. Any help would be very much appreciated, I have to start writing this thing soon!
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#2 Logan Schneider

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 10:41 PM

A good start would be to look at "Girl with a Pearl Earring", shot by Eduardo Serra. His cinematography mimics the work of Vermeer, his subject.

There are few examples that are that direct, but cinematographers have always studied the masters. Just listen to any interview by Vittorio Storaro. "This insert shot was influenced by 13th century Micronesian vase-work..."
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 07:24 AM

"Red Beard" and "High and Low" are the ultimate examples of that effect -- long-lens anamorphic photography shot at deep stops. Here is a frame:

Posted Image
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