Posted 11 October 2007 - 10:21 AM
i am doing a study this year of some aspect of cinematography and was wondering if anyone knew of any modern original cinematography or if the majority of techniques used are borrowed from the earlier years of cinema?any help would be appreciated.
Posted 11 October 2007 - 12:35 PM
To throw in some thoughts on your question that might be helpful (please correct me if I misunderstood your original post):
Any language and rethoric, verbally or visually, invents, develops, draws upon, revolutionises, and evolves. Often all at once. That is what makes it "alive". So establishing distinctions of 'originality' on one hand or 'direct immediate influence/borrowing/copycating' on the other are difficult. You will find that this is not how art-making works. Although some directors/cinematographer/duos have "signatures", new and original techniques, there is still a clear-clut, or more feable, or mere philosophical, (un)conscious inspiration that can be traced to previous historic filmmaking effort...
An example: Wong Kar-Wai and Christopher Doyle's early films are original pieces, but they also show inspiration from anything like the Nouvelle Vague to films by Shohei Imamura or Nagisa Oshima to even Straub-Huillet or some Japanese Animes (esp. frame composition and in-frame movement of protagonists), especially in their later, more sedate films.
There is a thread in the 'Lighting' sub-forum that debates the concepts of 'Inspiration', 'Category' and 'Influence' with Nouvelle Vague, Cinéma Vérité and Direct Cinema. Check it out - plenty of names and leads there.
To give you just some more people that come to my mind (personal subjective selection) that you might follow up as a lead:
Stanley Kubrick and John Alcott had their original cinematography, but that distinctness had also to do with the films' stories, personal approaches and technological innovations than just mere cinematographic techniques.
Martin Scorsese and Michael Ballhaus developed a virtuous language of their own.
Renato Berta's work for Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Daniel Schmid and the Nouvelle Vague was original, but then again, all these filmmakers speak highly of their inspiration by people like Hitchcock, Lang or Ford and Hawks, which is not an immediate link-up that would come to mind. And although Straub publicly stated that he disliked Kubrick's work, both have a lot in common (more than Straub could possibly acknowledge )!
Seek out William Lubtchansky for Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Philippe Garrel, Jacques Rivette.
Michael Gornick and George A. Romero, esp. in "Martin" came up with a new "rugged" way of cinematography without making it look shabby or diletantic (which is a really fine line that's easily crossed!)
People like Henri Alekan and D. A. Pennebaker were responsible for masterfully cultivating a certain film rhetoric over their entire oeuvre, too, although they were not soley inventing a tradition all of their own.
Gus van Sant's "My own private Idaho" is also visually unique, but alas, his later films sadly lost this mojo touch.
Also, Chas, consider that many films who were really outstanding cinematographically, are not popularly known outside this forum, and hence don't show up readily on google'd "film ranking lists", like Francis Ford Coppola's "Rumble Fish" or Robert Altman's "3 Women" or "The Player".
On the other hand, people who are credited with a unique, original style by many critics, such as Quentin Tarantino, are actually borrowing heavily on established visual traditions (and are the first to acknowledge that if asked).
What is interesting and preoccupies me for a while: "Children of Men" seems to have had a deep and inspiring impact especially on younger audiences, most notably Emmanuel Lubezki's camerawork, which he pushed through as he wanted it: and standing up for one's visual ideas should get the highest respect.
So he is highly revered here for the right reason, but nevertheless, I must say that I think that this film is actually not that revolutionary when it comes to visual originality. A great film, and intense and "zeitgeistig" story, brilliantly and uniquely executed, but not the best example to start with when it comes to originality when looking back at 112 years of cinematography.
(oh, I will get so slaughtered for saying this )
Edited by Michael Lehnert, 11 October 2007 - 12:40 PM.
Posted 11 October 2007 - 04:19 PM
Something about it seems to look closer to a DV style of shooting and this makes them think "hey, i dont have to learn all that complex stuff that those older guys think you have to learn... they are used to big old cameras and old ways of doing things and this movies shows a new way of doing things that everyone likes and thats all me."
I didnt mean to direct this post at anyone, but just a thought on the whys. and yes, I liked it too.
Posted 14 October 2007 - 07:31 AM
Thanks for the detailed reply very much appreciated. im just looking for a point within cinematography with which i can find an argument and or have a strong enough opinion about to argue a case.
I intially was goin to do a study of british film and cinematography but ive also been looking at film and philosophy and how cinematography can be used to enhance the dramatic moment.
There is a lot more films i appreciate but children of men was one of the most obvious although its only recently that i have seen began studying it and the majority of the films i have seen have been from the last decade or two such as layer cake, leon and requiem for a dream.