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Slumdog Millionaire


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#1 Gus Sacks

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:30 PM

I've been a fan of Danny Boyle since Trainspotting, through 28 Days Later, Millions (which is grossly under-rated), and even Sunshine. But this film just takes the cake. It's a real masterpiece. You can feel an artist's hands crafting it (though of course not in a distracting way), and it's a very entertaining fairytale of a film.

The cinematography is out of control, in a great way. One wonders how they did it... with all of the locations, the movement, the involvement with crowds and the feeling that you're right in the thick of it and that there isn't a DP, Director and an entire cast and crew involved. Some of the work is some of the most dynamic I've seen on a film of its scale. A lot of great 2nd Unit work, too.

My interest also spreads to IMDB, where it lists 35mm and Video as their formats, and the SI-2k as one of their cameras. I could notice a little extra grain in some of the more dimly lit of situations (where I suppose they would have used HD in addition to some handheld work in the thick), but the integration over-all was good. I'll have to see it again to really take a good look - was too engrossed in the film itself, which is good, eh? :) I wonder how much they used the SI camera.

Anyone else see it?
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#2 Jason Debus

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:08 AM

I saw it last weekend. Excellent film although I think the second half isn't as good as the first. Loved the scenes of when they were children. I would recommend the movie overall.

Seems like they used video for the game show, it was quite a noticable difference to me. But it made sense since it's a tv show. Most of the gritty India street shots (which from memory was most of the film) looked like 35mm to me. City of God is an apt comparison, you can feel it's influence.
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#3 Gus Sacks

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 06:05 AM

Seems like they used video for the game show, it was quite a noticable difference to me. But it made sense since it's a tv show. Most of the gritty India street shots (which from memory was most of the film) looked like 35mm to me. City of God is an apt comparison, you can feel it's influence.


Yeah, the game show stuff certainly looked very clean. But I'm kind of feeling like they didn't use a ton of 35mm. One article said it was about 70-30 SI-2k. City of God was Super-16. I wonder why, if they were going with a 2k sensor they didn't shoot S16 to save costs, and possibly even get a close look? Plus, S16 cameras are obviously smaller.

Article on Slumdog Millionaire

It appears that they'd used the SI-2k for most of the film.

Another Article w/ More Tech Info

The task of shooting amidst the bustle of these ramshackle cities-within-the-city fell to award-winning director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle, who most recently shot the OscarĀ®-winning LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, and has previously worked with Boyle shooting 28 DAYS LATER and MILLIONS. Mantle had to be extremely flexible in his shooting methods. The crew originally planned to shoot certain scenes using highly advanced SI-2K digital cameras and shoot the rest of the movie on film, but Boyle was adamant that he did not want to take large, cumbersome 35mm cameras into the slums. The smaller, more flexible digital cameras enabled them to shoot quickly with much less disturbance to the local communities.

For Boyle, it came down to trial and error to find the right shooting process. ?We started off using classical kinds of film cameras and I didn?t like it. I wanted to feel really involved in the city. I didn?t want to be looking at it, examining it,? he explains. ?I wanted to be thrown right into the chaos as much as possible. There?s a period of time between about 2am and 4am where it all stops and just the dogs move around, but other than that, the place is just a tide of humanity.?

The hyperkinetic chase sequence involving the young Jamal and Salim at the beginning of the film, in particular, was filmed incrementally, built up, like a montage over a period of time. Whenever possible, the crew would return to the location and film another section of the chase.

?Anthony was able to hand hold the SI-2Ks,? recalls Boyle. ?Although they had a gyro on them to stabilize them, they were still very small and could operate in very small, narrow areas, which is what you get in the slums. You can capture a bit of the life that?s going on around you, without people realizing it and becoming self-conscious.?

Boyle continues: ?We also used what we called a ?CanonCam,? which was a Canon stills camera, which takes twelve frames a second. If people see a still camera, they don?t think it is recording live action. We?d record stuff like that, as well as occasionally using the traditional film camera ? so it?s a mixture of different technologies that we used in the film. Whoever was operating the camera would have a hard drive strapped to their back, which would record the images while the camera was in their hand. Anthony would look like a rather cumbersome tourist from Denmark who was wandering around the slums,? laughs Boyle, ?but actually what he was doing was filming.?


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#4 Daniel Carruthers

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 01:01 PM

I have yet to see this movie
But I read the ASC artical,and it seems like more than 60% of the movie was shot on the SI-2K
even some canon mark 3 still camera was used
in the artical it seemed like anthony dodd mantle mainly used the digital camera for the day scenes
and 35mm pushed for the nighttime scenes
so the pushed footage should explain the grain?
it seems a little backwards to me,to use digital in daylight and film at night???
and according to the artical,they used the SI-2K because it was small and allowed them to shoot down the small crowded allways,and it had good latitude for digital.
I really want to see this movie
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#5 Daniel Porto

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 10:52 PM

For various shots it seemed like the detail increased dramatically. For example the shot of the girl looking up at the train station (slow zoom in). The shot was full of color and was so crisp that I am wondering if it was shot on 35mm and perhaps a rediculously sharp lens... what is this lens?

AWESOME FILM
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#6 Krystian Ramlogan

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 05:42 PM

This film was certainly a masterpiece. Danny Boyle's films always move you in certain ways and I always feel that sense of love in his work, both for the film and his craft.

I can't recommend it enough, and I also need to see it again ;) I was so wrapped up in the story I forgot to do my usual over analysis! Lol.

I agree the second half slowed down and wasn't quite as visceral as the first, but I didn't care at that point as I just wanted to see where we were heading.

K.
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#7 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 05:59 PM

It's a real masterpiece. You can feel an artist's hands crafting it (though of course not in a distracting way), and it's a very entertaining fairytale of a film.


Agreed. It's so refreshing to see a director really push the medium into something that seems completely new and original in my eyes.

I read the AC article before and after, and was really interested in the handheld work with a gyro. I really liked it, somewhere between steadicam and handheld.



SPOILER

And the dance at the end was a great touch! It was as if he said, OK, we told the story from my point of view...now let's knock it out Bollywood style! ha ha
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#8 Dan Goulder

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 06:28 PM

For various shots it seemed like the detail increased dramatically. For example the shot of the girl looking up at the train station (slow zoom in). The shot was full of color and was so crisp that I am wondering if it was shot on 35mm and perhaps a rediculously sharp lens... what is this lens?

AWESOME FILM

I believe the shot your were referring to was 35mm using an Angenieux Optimo zoom. excellent film
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#9 Tim Tyler

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 01:49 PM

What a great movie.

Can't understand why it was rated R though. I don't recall any blood or heavy language.

Fandango says "R: some violence, disturbing images and language" but the listing for "The Unborn" is PG-13 for "intense sequences of violence and terror, disturbing images, thematic material and language including some sexual references."

Doesn't seem fair to exclude teens from a movie that might open their eyes to the world around them.
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#10 Will Earl

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:05 PM

Have yet to see the film, but this might be of interest to some...

http://content.foxse...ideos/node/3075

(apologies if it's been posted in another thread already)
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 09 January 2009 - 06:09 PM

Does anyone else think this looks vile and manipulative? Yet another, dreadful, shooting fish in a barrel film festival box ticker? Quite offended to see the word "masterpiece" being banded around.

Let's all breath in the gooey music, uber cliched "relevant" handheld work (REALLY shot in India by REAL, rich white Western people) and and feel good about ourselves. While the maker's of Millionaire make a fortune off of this.

That's what I've been hearing from friends as well.
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#12 John Brawley

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 02:30 AM

Does anyone else think this looks vile and manipulative? Yet another, dreadful, shooting fish in a barrel film festival box ticker? Quite offended to see the word "masterpiece" being banded around.

Let's all breath in the gooey music, uber cliched "relevant" handheld work (REALLY shot in India by REAL, rich white Western people) and and feel good about ourselves. While the maker's of Millionaire make a fortune off of this.



It doesn't sound like you've actually seen the film.

You do know that it's an adaptation ? written by a REAL Indian Vikras Swarup if that's what you need for credibility....
http://en.wikipedia....ki/Vikas_Swarup

By your logic, Roger Deakins shouldn't be shooting the Assassination of Jesse James because he's a pom.

Personally, I respond to good storytelling told well and judge it by what's on the screen.

jb
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#13 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 04:04 AM

You do know that it's an adaptation ?

Adaptation of a fiction or non-fiction novel?
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#14 John Brawley

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 04:29 AM

Adaptation of a fiction or non-fiction novel?



I am wondering if that it actually matters to be honest.

Im trying to read between the lines so maybe I should spell out exactly how it's coming across to me and you can correct me in case i have the wrong idea.

The inference seems to be that Danny Boyle, AKA a rich white man, is exploiting poverty stricken Indians to make a film masquerading as a masterpiece of cinema ??

Do i have that wrong ?

jb
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#15 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:21 AM

I am wondering if that it actually matters to be honest.

Im trying to read between the lines so maybe I should spell out exactly how it's coming across to me and you can correct me in case i have the wrong idea.

The inference seems to be that Danny Boyle, AKA a rich white man, is exploiting poverty stricken Indians to make a film masquerading as a masterpiece of cinema ??

Do i have that wrong ?

jb

I don't think that Tim was suggesting that Danny Boyle exploited Indians. Well at least not in a direct manner of course, but rather in the sense that he uses their plight to make one of these manipulative films about a 'worthy' and/or 'important' subject that people like to watch because it makes them feel better about themselves. Which is the exact same feedback that I've heard from other people too.

We've had some conversations about these kind of films, those that win awards not based on their artistic merits, but because of the subject matter. It's my belief that many people have trouble separating the subject matter from the film itself. Just because a film is about a 'worthy' subject does not make it a 'worthy' film. It's kinda like the family dog that gets killed after twenty minutes. More often than not that's a cheap manipulation that's incredibly effective to get an emotional reaction.

My main criterion to judge art is honesty, and these kinds of films are anything but.
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#16 John Brawley

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 05:55 AM

I don't think that Tim was suggesting that Danny Boyle exploited Indians. Well at least not in a direct manner of course, but rather in the sense that he uses their plight to make one of these manipulative films about a 'worthy' and/or 'important' subject that people like to watch because it makes them feel better about themselves. Which is the exact same feedback that I've heard from other people too.


Fair enough, but i think you've misread the film. I feel it's an inherently Indian story. Although it deals in issues of abject poverty, i didn't feel it was trying in anyway to be *worthy*

Have you seen any bollywood films ?? India has the biggest film industry in the world and mos of their films are about escapism. About offering hope when the day to day life offers very little.

This is not a film about feeling better about yourself if you're a westerner living a life of relative affluence.

This film is fun and playful and exciting. It's not about looking at the *Indian* situation. It doesn't seek pity. It IS a fundamentally indian story about finding a true childhood love. The fact is, is that are a wealth of extremes in India. This film isn't actually about someone going from rags to riches (although that does happen -sort of- to the main protagonist) it's actually about something much more than that. You assume, perhaps because of the association with the makers of millionaire that it's a cynical message but this is a pretty shallow reading of the film.

This is an indian Oliver Twist, where you can go forward once if you can learn from the severe and harsh soul destroying realities that life sometimes deals you. Millionaire is a device, but it's not the story.

With that cultural subconscious in mind, that is most Indian films are really about escaping the reality of life, this film slots perfectly into the indian vernacular.

My main criterion to judge art is honesty, and these kinds of films are anything but.


I think it's unfair to criticise anything without actually seeing it for yourself Max.

jb

Edited by John Brawley, 10 January 2009 - 06:24 AM.

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#17 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 06:01 AM

I was not referring to Slumdog Millionaire (which I don't have an opinion on, because I haven't seen it yet) but to films in general.
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#18 John Brawley

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 06:10 AM

I was not referring to Slumdog Millionaire (which I don't have an opinion on, because I haven't seen it yet) but to films in general.


Well that's hard to interpret given you earlier agreed with a statement that supports that position in a thread that is entitled "slumdog millionaire" My apologies for ascribing that opinion to you.

I agree with you that films that are manipulative for the sake of eliciting a visceral audience response whilst offering nothing that is genuinely original should be derided. Don't get me started on so called "torture porn".

I just don't think this film should be included under that moniker.

jb

**edit

And back on topic. This was one of the better films I saw last year. I thought the photography was really very fresh with a tremendous amount of energy. The film itself is very well crafted, and stylised. It is far from realism, and dangerously close to melodrama but that's what india is all about anyway to me.
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#19 Max Jacoby

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 06:14 AM

Well that's hard to interpret given you earlier agreed with a statement that supports that position in a thread that is entitled "slumdog millionaire" My apologies for ascribing that opinion to you.

Well I did not agree personally, I just said that I have friends who share Tim's opinion.

Gosh, now I really have to go see that film to see what all the fuss is about. ;)
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#20 Joe Taylor

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 07:16 AM

John, I guess you need to read the fine print between the lines. The problem and the real argument that you are getting here, is this. "This film is bad and I refuse to enjoy it, let alone see it, because it was not shot on Film."

Just let it go. Like Sister Beauvier, some people cannot be reached.
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