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Often overlooked movies with beautiful cinematography?


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#1 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 11:30 AM

Morning, everyone! I'm looking for some movies I likely haven't seen that are worth watching for their cinematography. Even if they aren't that good, I would like to hear some of your picks.

One that I would choose is "Ladyhawke." It's a fantasy comedy/love-story shot by Vittorio Storaro and released the year I was born, 1985. It's a great story (if very cheesy) and looks great but it's all brought down a notch by a very dated 80s score.

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#2 Max Jacoby

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 02:21 PM

If you haven't seen it yet, check out 'Snow Falling on Cedars'. One of the most beautiful films of all time.
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#3 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 03:30 PM

If you haven't seen it yet, check out 'Snow Falling on Cedars'. One of the most beautiful films of all time.


Will do. I've never seen all of it, for some reason. Thanks.
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#4 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 05:11 PM

Will do. I've never seen all of it, for some reason. Thanks.



The End shot of Electra Glide in Blue is pretty amazing
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#5 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 05:14 PM

Point Blank is pretty stunning looking. And it STILL isn't out on region 2 dvd...!

One of my favourite film...
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 29 August 2007 - 09:17 PM

I recall The Color Purple being extraordinary looking without any gimmicks.
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#7 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 12:44 AM

If you haven't seen it yet, check out 'Snow Falling on Cedars'. One of the most beautiful films of all time.


I agree regarding the film's look and yet I couldn't watch it because the fractured clunky storytelling
turned me off so much (and I'll sit through a lot.)

Before I became disillusioned with the narrative, I thought wow this is one of the best looking films
I've seen!


On a positive note, check out "Local Hero" 1983 dir. Bill Forsythe, cinematographer Chris Menges
This film is a great example of using natural light.
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#8 Greg Traw

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:09 AM

'The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.' Ozzie Morris did the cinematography, so it might not be that overlooked. But it has some of the best b/w lighting via "practicals" I've ever seen.
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#9 Michael Nash

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 03:32 AM

I agree regarding the film's look and yet I couldn't watch it because the fractured clunky storytelling
turned me off so much (and I'll sit through a lot.)


Then I guess you missed the point. The movie is about emotions, told from an impressionistic point of view. The events are context to the emotions, rather than the other way around (as with conventional narrative).

I image you'd probably hate Wong Kar-Wai and Soderbergh too, then...
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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 05:56 AM

Mario Bava movies:

Black Sabbath/Black Sunday etc
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#11 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 11:15 AM

Then I guess you missed the point. The movie is about emotions, told from an impressionistic point of view. The events are context to the emotions, rather than the other way around (as with conventional narrative).

I image you'd probably hate Wong Kar-Wai and Soderbergh too, then...



I do my best to not hate anybody or anything but yeah I quite possibly could have not
"got" it and I know how frustrated I get when I recommend a movie that I think is great and somebody
dislikes it but they completely miss its point. I'll give it another look. If I still can't hack it, then I'll
turn off the sound and just watch it.


There are lot of films to see so I haven't yet seen one by Wong Kar-Wei but I do like Soderbergh
though.

I think that "The Limey" is great even though it seems to have hardly been noticed. In that,
he uses some broken continuity in his scene coverage, particularly as I remember in a scene with
Luis Guzman and I disliked that tactic but I still really like the movie.

It also may be that although I'm a fan of daring storytelling, I like conventional narrative.

"Elephant" however is as I recall a conventionall narrative film and, although it has some great
Steadicam shots and won big at Cannes, the first 98% of it is about the most boring conventional
narrative that could be. Sure, it may show how ordinary life can explode by first showing
a regular hum drum day but in my opinion its only redeeming aspect is the camera work.

Another recommendation: see if you can get "Meshes of an Afternoon" a short film from
1943 by Maya Deren.

I found this post about its availability on DVD

http://www.imdb.com/...d/nest/45821178
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#12 Wendell_Greene

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 12:11 PM

There are lot of films to see so I haven't yet seen one by Wong Kar-Wai



Then I would recommend you watch "In The Mood For Love". Beautiful cinematography.
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#13 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 12:45 PM

Visconti's 'White Nights', I think Rotunno was cinematographer.

Their 'Il Gattopardo/The Leopard' is also quite beautiful Super Technirama, but not really all that overlooked these days, not that it hasn't been in the past.

'the Man who wasn't there', Ossie Morris. Maybe his first Cinemascope.
& his 'The Key' so-so movie, but with Sophia Loren. Contrasty B/W Cinemascope. The sea scenes are strong.
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#14 Joseph Zizzo

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:09 PM

the events are context for emotion... what a great way to put it. that is certainly true of "in the mood for love", an extraordinarily compelling film both visually and dramatically, you just can't look away.

there is an emotional tone to this type of film that is hard to describe, let alone achieve. another one i love is "vera drake". that film just captures the events and their imact in the characters' lives, as well as the time period in which they take place so well, its sublime. dick pope really struck a perfect chord in that one, sort of an opposite approach, look-wise, to mike leigh's other fine films.

someone mentioned "point blank", another incredible film of depth and tone. are there any hal ashby fans out there? "coming home" and "being there" are similar in the powerful way they create time and space for the story to unfold in...
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#15 Logan Schneider

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:35 PM

I will second "In the Mood for Love". It has some of the most subtle, beautiful and poetic cinematography that I have ever seen.

Even though many people did not like it, "Intolerable Cruelty", shot by Roger Deakins, ASC BSC has some of the most beautiful and glamorous Hollywood photography that I have seen.

I'll try to think of less obvious movies.
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#16 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 01:35 PM

This is a great topic and it's really interesting to see that people often just go for "beautiful cinematography" and not "often overlooked movies"
I guess it's the nature of the beast! I think a lot of Ken Loach's films are often overlooked, may be not "beautiful cinematography" but great
cinematography that flows and immerses you into the story without drawing your attention as to how it was lit, just brilliant visual storytelling.

Kieran.

Edited by Kieran Scannell, 30 August 2007 - 01:36 PM.

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#17 Vincent Sweeney

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 03:33 PM

Maybe one of the most overlooked films I've seen, ever, is Waterland ('92). And no, that is not Waterworld. No one I know has seen it, which is a shame.

Waterland stars Jeremy Irons and was shot by Robert Elswit. It's photography and music stand alone on top of a great, haunting drama. We are lucky that it was finally released on DVD recently. I'd recommend that film to anyone and even more so to anyone interested in composing for film, or in modern cinematography.
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#18 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 03:40 PM

Wow! This is going pretty nicely. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Kieran, the big reason why I started this is that every so often I ahve got into the habit of watching a movie with the sound off and just seeing it. All of it. Most of the movies I hear about being so beautiful are also very good movies. There are also a lot that are just not that great but look great. It's a good world to expose yourself to. You learn a lot of trick as well as what not to do.

On the subject of what not to do, I watched Ladyhawke yesterday after posting about it. It's a veritable primer of what to do and what not to do with grad filters. Storaro had some really brilliant bits and some real stinkers in this one movie. For example, many of the exteriors are shot with a hard orange grad ALL the time. It didn't matter whether the camera moved or not, whether there was other stuff than sky (people, buildings, trees) in the upper frame or not. It was always there. It looks awful a lot of the time. Another significant part of the film, grads are used beautifully. Sometimes, I noticed, there's even a soft-edge, light orange grad on candlelit interiors on the bottom of the frame. It's a bit strange but it looks very nice when the effect is slight. The final scene, in a great cathedral, is especially beautiful. A gorgeous mix of candlelight and natural sunlight motivated form a broken window (that also has plot importance).
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#19 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 03:49 PM

may be not "beautiful cinematography" but great
cinematography that flows and immerses you into the story without drawing your attention as to how it was lit, just brilliant visual storytelling.


I feel I should clarify this. You describe what I am looking for. Beautiful in a usual sense and beautiful in an effective storytelling sense can be quite different.
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#20 Max Jacoby

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Posted 30 August 2007 - 04:32 PM

"Elephant" however is as I recall a conventionall narrative film and, although it has some great
Steadicam shots and won big at Cannes, the first 98% of it is about the most boring conventional
narrative that could be. Sure, it may show how ordinary life can explode by first showing
a regular hum drum day but in my opinion its only redeeming aspect is the camera work.

In my mind 'Elephant' can hardly be called a conventional narrative film. Not much happens in the film on purpose so there is obviously no real narrative at work here. There is no three act structure, you do not identifiy with the characters who are not very developed anyway, there is no cause and effect driving the plot forward, etc... I can understand that people find this film boring, but that is probably because they are looking for narrative tension and there isn't any.

To me this film is about the experience of the space of this school. The film creates this slow but spellbinding rhythm that takes us through these buildings, allowing us to take in the different looks, sounds and atmospheres of this school.
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