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Matthew Libatique


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#1 ML Scott

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 08:47 AM

I think Libatiques work on Inside Man was magnificent. Didnt seem to get a lot of praise or good press, but it is such a classy and elegantly shot film. I love the rich colour palette he has given to new york: the plays between tungsten, metal halide, daylight throughout. Great balance, but also sometimes nice and dirty to great narrative effect. Stunning composition throughout.

Is it just because it got a late release in Australia, that I missed any press around it. The film was reasonably successful, but in local papers nothing was made of the really impressive Cinematography.

Where do others rate Libatique in the scheme of contemporary Cinematographers?

Also, anyone know what gear he used for the shots with Denzel and Clive onboard the dolly? Or was it a body rig?
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#2 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 12:16 PM

There was a great article in the AC Mag about this film: http://www.ascmag.co...deMan/page1.php

Libatique is definitely up there in my list. He's always done great work, but he's been particularly exceptional these past couple years with films like "Inside Man", "Everything is Illuminated", and the gorgeous filim "The Fountain".

As if there weren't enough reasons for me to be excited about "Iron Man", he shot that as well.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 03:10 PM

There was a great article in the AC Mag about this film: http://www.ascmag.co...deMan/page1.php

Libatique is definitely up there in my list. He's always done great work, but he's been particularly exceptional these past couple years with films like "Inside Man", "Everything is Illuminated", and the gorgeous filim "The Fountain".

As if there weren't enough reasons for me to be excited about "Iron Man", he shot that as well.


What I like about Libatique is that he is brave. He never seems to shy from some pretty extreme looks. This is probably also a product of the directors he works with, but it's still a trait I admire.

It's a shame the Fountain didn't get more recognition. It was a wildly beautiful, moving movie. On the other hand, I understand that a movie so disconnected will rarely gain general acceptance.
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#4 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 07:54 PM

...On the other hand, I understand that a movie so disconnected will rarely gain general acceptance.


It hardly had a wide release, if I remember correctly. When it finally showed up here in San Francisco, it was at the local independent Landmark Theatre on a screen half the size of your regular multiplex screen. So, it was already labeled by execs as an arthouse film before it was even released. Sad really.

The DVD has some great behind-the-scenes coverage though and focuses quite a bit on some of Libatique's methods. My favorite part is when he's holding up a large piece of duvetyne. His arms stretched out like he's Batman, then he crouches down so the light blasts in on Jackman.
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#5 Tom Lowe

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 08:04 PM

Inside Man was very good work, IMO. Not Oscar caliber, but about as good as you can ask for with a bank-robbery picture like that. Some of his shots in The Fountain, however, were truly world-class.

Edited by Tom Lowe, 08 September 2007 - 08:04 PM.

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#6 Bugs Haller

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 09:36 PM

I hope this doesn't come across as "thread hijacking" but I just have to weigh in on the Fountain as it's been brought up.

I'm a huge fan of both Aronofsky and Libatique... I even had the pleasure of talking with Libatique briefly at a Starbucks in the Valley a few years ago (when Brad Pitt was still signed on to play the lead in the Fountain)

But I have to say without a doubt that The Fountain was one of the absolute worst films I have EVER seen. I waited years for this movie to finally come out. I was sure it was going to be a masterpiece... and then I saw it.

If it wasn't an Aronofsky film I would have walked out for sure.

Usually I'm a fan of ambitious films... especially from a master filmmaker... but this crossed the line. If he just would have stuck to one narrative he could have saved it. As it stands I call it junk.

My 2 cents.

The Cinematography was striking but the set design kept it from really shining.

THIS MOVIE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED.
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#7 Tom Lowe

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 10:32 AM

Bugs, to each his own.

The Fountain was far and away my favorite film from last year, and is among my top 5 films for this decade so far.
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#8 Piotr Ciacka

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 02:56 AM

The Cinematography was striking but the set design kept it from really shining.

That's interesting. I though that the best thing about the film was synergy between poduction design and cinematography. Production design was Oscar-worthy, and I'm not just talking about that bubble spaceship or Queen Isabel hall with stars-resembling lights. Look at Tommy Creo's apartement for instance. Great work.
Now, back to topic...
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#9 Tom Lowe

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 10:59 AM

As much as I love The Fountain, the one thing I really did not like was the set design for "jungle" scenes. IMO, they should have done whatever it took to actually shoot in a real jungle. I understand that Aronofsky says he did not have the money for it, but to me, the whole opening shot in the "jungle" looked totally fake. Part of this is Libatique's fault, IMO. It looked overlit to me. A real jungle like that, with towering tree canopies at night, would be very, very dark.
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#10 Bugs Haller

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 03:03 AM

As much as I love The Fountain, the one thing I really did not like was the set design for "jungle" scenes. IMO, they should have done whatever it took to actually shoot in a real jungle. I understand that Aronofsky says he did not have the money for it, but to me, the whole opening shot in the "jungle" looked totally fake. Part of this is Libatique's fault, IMO. It looked overlit to me. A real jungle like that, with towering tree canopies at night, would be very, very dark.



I agree. Those scenes stuck out like a sore thumb. Everything just seemed like it was shot on a stage... until you get to the scene where he's walking in the snow... where he's actually on location and you realize just how poor the staged scenes were.
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#11 Greg Traw

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 10:13 PM

I finally saw The Fountain this last weekend, along with The Prestige, as it was my catch-up on new movies weekend. I thought the philosophy of the film was presented in an interesting way, but nothing new if you've read Joseph Campbell before.

The one aspect of the film that I hated was the melodrama. I found this to be true with Requiem for a Dream also, so it's probably just Aronofsky's sensibility. Personally, I think he needs to take a lesson from Thoreau as, 'men lead lives of quiet desperation.'

But the Prestige was brilliant, and a truly entertaining film.

Next weekend Inland Empire and Zodiac.
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#12 Tom Lowe

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:17 PM

Your reaction was the opposite from mine. I really liked the Prestige, but I loved The Fountain. The film was daring in its originality and scope. Both Aronofsky and Jackman took huge risks playing this film so sincerely.
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#13 Rod Blackhurst

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 10:39 AM

I met Matthew on a music video shoot in the early summer of 2006. He was DPing a Sam Brown directed music video for The Fray, their first release of How to Save A Life, before they made a second music video with Mark Pellington. I've been traveling with The Fray for about two years now, filming, videoing, taking photographs, etc and Sony hired my partner Kelly and I to shoot and produce a "behind the scenes" of the video for the now defunct Dual Disc series. Ultimately it was intended for a special edition CD/DVD that the label released, but when they scrapped the video they didn't include the piece on the DVD. But, I put it up on my youtube channel. Matty is in it a fair bit, interacting with Sam B, first at 2:13 again at 2:43 and so on.

The Fray - How to Save A Life (Dir Sam Brown DP Matty Libatique) - Making Of

Does anyone know what other music videos Matty has shot? Films are easy to find out, but the music videos, not so much.
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#14 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:05 PM

Does anyone know what other music videos Matty has shot? Films are easy to find out, but the music videos, not so much.


Here's a partial list, not up to date, but covers a lot of what he's done.

Matthew Libatique Music Video Credits


He works with Director Phil Harder a great deal, and I know he was the DP for Hilary Duff's "Beat of My Heart"

Btw, Rod, I really enjoyed your behind the scenes film. Lovely work.
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#15 Rod Blackhurst

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 04:37 PM

Wendell, thanks for the list, quite impressive. Maybe Matty is the reason why I've always loved Phillip Harder's matchbox twenty videos. Thanks for the kind words on the making of. And here's to wishing we could find more projects like that to create!
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