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The Master in 70mm


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 07:14 PM

I saw the 70mm print at the East Village Cinema in NYC. First off, when the projection started, I had to get used to the slight jitter during the brief titles, once the movie started I stopped thinking about it.

The 70mm image was masked to 1.85 or even less wide (it looked less wide to me, more like 1.66). An interesting choice which, in an odd way, made the movie seem more of the period, less modern. The fine-grained 65mm image and the very shallow focus also at times reminded me of some large format Kodachrome work of that period. At times, I also was reminded on the dye transfer print I saw of "The Thin Red Line", which had a period Kodachrome quality. Because of the natural soft light and shallow focus many times, and the cropped width, it wasn't a sort of "Lawrence of Arabia" kind of 70mm big screen look, more like a large format documentary color photo might look from the late 1940's, early 1950's.

I think the 65mm format captures some nice subtle color tones that smaller gauges have trouble resolving. Colors like the blue of the ocean were really rich, thick. The movie has a texture and beauty that seems hard for digital photography to capture. To me, large format film is the best of both worlds -- high resolution, fine grain, but film-like -- if only it wasn't so cumbersome to shoot and so expensive.
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#2 Brian Rose

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:13 PM

I saw the 70mm print at the East Village Cinema in NYC. First off, when the projection started, I had to get used to the slight jitter during the brief titles, once the movie started I stopped thinking about it.

The 70mm image was masked to 1.85 or even less wide (it looked less wide to me, more like 1.66). An interesting choice which, in an odd way, made the movie seem more of the period, less modern. The fine-grained 65mm image and the very shallow focus also at times reminded me of some large format Kodachrome work of that period. At times, I also was reminded on the dye transfer print I saw of "The Thin Red Line", which had a period Kodachrome quality. Because of the natural soft light and shallow focus many times, and the cropped width, it wasn't a sort of "Lawrence of Arabia" kind of 70mm big screen look, more like a large format documentary color photo might look from the late 1940's, early 1950's.

I think the 65mm format captures some nice subtle color tones that smaller gauges have trouble resolving. Colors like the blue of the ocean were really rich, thick. The movie has a texture and beauty that seems hard for digital photography to capture. To me, large format film is the best of both worlds -- high resolution, fine grain, but film-like -- if only it wasn't so cumbersome to shoot and so expensive.


PTA made a lot of curious choices, which indeed had me wondering if 65mm was the right call artistically. He described his initial approach as being to recreate the look and feel of a 50s film, and he had investigated horizontal 8 Vistavision as a shooting format. This posed too many logistical challenges, and the next logical step was 65mm.

However to my mind, film gauge has very little to do with achieving a particular period look. It was about films stocks, lenses, anamorphic adapters (for that true Cinemascope feel, mumps and all), lighting and printing methods. I thought it was rather a shame to shoot that wonderful 2.20 full frame 65mm and crop it so much. It negates a fair bit of the purpose of 65mm.

In hindsight, if I were him I would've shot regular ole 35mm, but utilized low speeds stocks for interiors as well as exteriors, and utilized modern lighting technology (LED, HMIs) to really up the wattage while keeping the temps reasonable. All the better to get those rich saturated colors offered by low speed color brightly lit, as well as a bit more depth of field.

Obviously dye transfer printing isn't a possibility, but in post some color work could've better approximated the tonal saturation of a 50s tech print.

I should say, I'm glad he's helping to keep 65mm alive. I'm glad he tried for it, but I think it may well prove to be a failed experiment in large format. I would much rather have seen "There Will Be Blood" in 65mm.
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#3 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:10 AM

I saw the 70mm print at the East Village Cinema in NYC. First off, when the projection started, I had to get used to the slight jitter during the brief titles, once the movie started I stopped thinking about it.


I saw the 70mm print today at the Ziegfeld and I noticed the very same jitter. Is that due to the projector, the width of the print, or the simple fact that my eyes have become accustomed to digital projection? I have a hard time believing it is the last since I never noticed such a pronounced jitter in all my years of filmgoing. And I think this was the first time I saw a projected 70mm print...
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#4 John Holland

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 05:36 AM

Was there a noticeable drop in quality in the 35mm shots ?
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#5 John Salim

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 10:34 AM

I saw the 70mm print today at the Ziegfeld and I noticed the very same jitter. Is that due to the projector?



I'd say 99% yes !

John S :(
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#6 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:29 PM

Was there a noticeable drop in quality in the 35mm shots ?


Not that I noticed, John. As far as the photography and quality of the print (other than being a bit dirty,) the lush colors and contrast were pretty consistent.
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#7 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:39 PM

On a separate note, I thought this was P.T. Anderson's least impressive film to date. Interesting themes, but I didn't feel they were explored to the extent that the ones in There Will Be Blood were. I know Anderson's favorite filmmaker is Kubrick and I definitely see Stanley's influence in his films, but this one was just a bit too obtuse to make me interested enough to watch it again to see what I didn't get the first time around.

I'd say the best thing about this film was the performances. Definitely wasn't a candidate for 65mm.
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#8 F Bulgarelli

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 05:12 PM

I saw it digitally projected at the Ark light and it looked beautiful
I felt like the film got to a great start, I particularly admire Freddie's emotional breakdown scene during his time as a photographer, I think it was masterfully crafted and the economy of the shots is something to learn from.
Several times it felt like PTA relied on 1 or 2 set ups to tell the story and it worked beautifully.
After a while, it was hard for me to stay very interested in the story as it moved kind of slowly and it all centers around Freddie's character and his struggles, this vicious circle just became hard to tolerate.

In general. it was a good film but not one that I call my favorite by PTA
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#9 alan doyle

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 07:26 PM

i have just seen it in 70mm in london a pretty small screen kind of a waste.
mr mullen as usual nails it.
this is not big like laurence,spartacus or ryans daughter but a much more inward looking piece that is really lovely at times.
the footage on the beach the fight in the store,the fight flight into the field early evening simply sublime.
this was a director making a romantic film choice knowing the end is near.
it makes me feel sick.
i nearly left the cinema early on as i could not hack the pox alexa movie trailers and the nasty sterile hd commercials.
so for me the first 40 odd minutes of the master was a delightful reacquaitance and readjustment back into the arms of an old near dead analogue friend.
mr deakins makes statements about film not cutting it any more i say go kiss your alexa and stop trying to kill off a dearly loved friend.
choice.
why limit choice
why suck up to the bean counters.
the trailer for the hobbit made me feel sick plastic cgi worlds.
it looks like my new film days are over i will wait for classic reruns at art cinemas.
the worst part is none of this new digital tripe can capture mise en scene like a klute, lift to the scaffold or a le feu follet.
i believe the original idea was to shoot main portrait shots on 65mm on the master but the pta and his dp fell in love with the images they where getting so went the whole hog.
good on them i say.




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#10 Pat Murray

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:08 PM

iit looks like my new film days are over i will wait for classic reruns at art cinemas.


Even then, visit your local rep theater as much as possible as those days are coming to an end too. My local rep theater always takes the 35mm print over digital, but is having a harder and harder time getting prints from the studios. The owner mentioned yesterday that he tried to rent a 35mm print of Grease and was told by the studio that they had tossed their copy.

On a positive note, this could be a good fundraising opportunity for archival houses such as Eastman House, Cinemateque and American Cinemateque as they could get more requests from rep theaters for 35mm copies from their archives. My local theater is also collecting prints and they now have over 200 in various states of repair. I don't know how they workout the licensing issues, but they do have a free screening for members once a month and that's always a 35mm film from their own collection.

Regarding, "The Master" I saw it on the last 35mm projector in a local multiplex in town just a week or two before they took it down. Just as I was sitting down I looked up to see a kid in the projection booth with what looked like written instructions in his hand whilst his other hand scratched his head and he looked searchingly over the 35mm projector. I though, oh boy this could be interesting, but he got it to work without any issues and I loved the film. For many of the reasons already stated and as a brilliant character study.
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#11 Alex Birrell

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 11:36 AM

I also saw it in London on the only screen in the UK showing the 70mm print! I sat near the front and what can I say - the definition was amazing. I have never seen 70mm in the cinema before and it was almost like going for the first time. I left the cinema cursing the fact that someone somewhere who is only interested in the price of silver is deliberately killing off film stock before I will fully get the chance to use it. I also thought it look more like 1.66:1 and I have to say that the 35mm segments really stuck out in graininess i.e. the steadicam chase across the field near the beginning. Sad thing is, at my film school, I spoke to a colleague who also saw it and when I started to talk about the quality their only comment was: did you see the two scratches down the print near the beginning! :angry:
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#12 Nate Opgenorth

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:12 PM

I saw the 70mm print today at the Ziegfeld and I noticed the very same jitter. Is that due to the projector, the width of the print, or the simple fact that my eyes have become accustomed to digital projection? I have a hard time believing it is the last since I never noticed such a pronounced jitter in all my years of filmgoing. And I think this was the first time I saw a projected 70mm print...


I think it was the projector. I read somewhere that in really bad cases with 35mm prints it really killed the resolution that could be seen. Haven't seen 70mm in quite some time...

I saw the 70mm print at the East Village Cinema in NYC. First off, when the projection started, I had to get used to the slight jitter during the brief titles, once the movie started I stopped thinking about it.

The 70mm image was masked to 1.85 or even less wide (it looked less wide to me, more like 1.66). An interesting choice which, in an odd way, made the movie seem more of the period, less modern. The fine-grained 65mm image and the very shallow focus also at times reminded me of some large format Kodachrome work of that period. At times, I also was reminded on the dye transfer print I saw of "The Thin Red Line", which had a period Kodachrome quality. Because of the natural soft light and shallow focus many times, and the cropped width, it wasn't a sort of "Lawrence of Arabia" kind of 70mm big screen look, more like a large format documentary color photo might look from the late 1940's, early 1950's.

I think the 65mm format captures some nice subtle color tones that smaller gauges have trouble resolving. Colors like the blue of the ocean were really rich, thick. The movie has a texture and beauty that seems hard for digital photography to capture. To me, large format film is the best of both worlds -- high resolution, fine grain, but film-like -- if only it wasn't so cumbersome to shoot and so expensive.


I think its sorta weird to shoot on 65mm and crop for 1.85:1. I love the crisp clarity of 65mm and I guess I sort of associate it with the 2.20:1 or less common 2.75:1 aspect ratio. I really really like large formats shallow focus and the grand size of it, I think the only other person "keeping 65mm alive" is probably Christopher Nolan. It'll be sad to see the format fade with the entire idea of celluloid :/ was out with a friend shooting medium format and some high quality 35mm a bit ago and the magic of it almost put my DSLR on the side line. Haven't seen the movie but mixing 65mm and 35mm is always smart and sensible, sometimes the grandeur of the 65mm format is overkill for certain scenes. I never can really get over the picture quality of movies like Lawrence of Arabia, 2001, etc.

I know its controversial and not always the best but I sort of always dreamed of a digital camera maybe by Arri or even RED that had a 36x24 or larger sensor, the 5D look is so pleasing artifacts aside, although I understand shallow depth of field is a real PITA when pulling focus in fast moving scenes and in general. Just about of curiosity have you ever shot 65mm?
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#13 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 09:24 PM

Just about of curiosity have you ever shot 65mm?


Nope, but I'd love to. I was actually thinking about using it for a short film.
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#14 Nate Opgenorth

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 03:51 AM

Nope, but I'd love to. I was actually thinking about using it for a short film.

I was actually asking David. Curious about your idea none the less. Any specific reason you'd use 65mm for a short film? Don't need plot details or anything just curious what it is you like....
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#15 Nate Opgenorth

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 04:00 AM



Nope, but I'd love to. I was actually thinking about using it for a short film.

I was actually asking David. Curious about your idea none the less. Any specific reason you'd use 65mm for a short film? Don't need plot details or anything just curious what it is you like....

Side note: I find it strange that the Phantom 65 (4K version) doesn't see more use....I know its not true 65mm film but it does give unique DOF of the 65mm format AND it doubles as a high frame rate camera...not an established workflow for it maybe? Even that seams like a bad excuse...maybe I'll ask a rental house for reasons if no one can give me an idea.

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#16 georg lamshöft

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 01:23 PM

I know its controversial and not always the best but I sort of always dreamed of a digital camera maybe by Arri or even RED that had a 36x24 or larger sensor


Sensors much larger than S35 (24x36mm, 65mm and beyond) are made with a technology called "stitching". It basically means that a sensor this size cannot be producd in one pass but is made from several sensors which are "stitched" together on the wafer. This production process can only be handled by very few manufacturers (not sure about the suppliers of ARRI and RED) and always causes problems. The stitched sensors create one big sensor but still have slightly different properties which can be masked in firmware to a certain degree but may not be satisfactory for professional cinema standards.
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#17 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 25 November 2012 - 07:57 PM

I was actually asking David. Curious about your idea none the less. Any specific reason you'd use 65mm for a short film? Don't need plot details or anything just curious what it is you like....


Good question. I guess I'd just really like to use 65mm, but I'll be the first one to admit that's a bad reason to choose any format. Even if I were able to justify using 65mm for a short, the problem with that is that there are no 70mm projectors around the festival circuit. Very few even project prints at all. Also the screens in the US are nowhere near as large as they once were (even the one at the Ziegfeld seems to have shrunk.) So with no 70mm projector and no giant screen to project the film onto, anything shot on 65mm film hoping for festival distribution is automatically relegated to the realms of HD video. You automatically lose the grandeur of the format that way.

That was another reason I was disappointed with The Master. P.T. Anderson didn't take full advantage of the format.
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#18 Alexander P

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 12:34 AM

I saw the 70mm print at the East Village Cinema in NYC. First off, when the projection started, I had to get used to the slight jitter during the brief titles, once the movie started I stopped thinking about it.

The 70mm image was masked to 1.85 or even less wide (it looked less wide to me, more like 1.66). An interesting choice which, in an odd way, made the movie seem more of the period, less modern. The fine-grained 65mm image and the very shallow focus also at times reminded me of some large format Kodachrome work of that period. At times, I also was reminded on the dye transfer print I saw of "The Thin Red Line", which had a period Kodachrome quality. Because of the natural soft light and shallow focus many times, and the cropped width, it wasn't a sort of "Lawrence of Arabia" kind of 70mm big screen look, more like a large format documentary color photo might look from the late 1940's, early 1950's.

I think the 65mm format captures some nice subtle color tones that smaller gauges have trouble resolving. Colors like the blue of the ocean were really rich, thick. The movie has a texture and beauty that seems hard for digital photography to capture. To me, large format film is the best of both worlds -- high resolution, fine grain, but film-like -- if only it wasn't so cumbersome to shoot and so expensive.


Agree 100%.
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#19 Jason Reimer

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 12:35 AM

Just saw this the other night, and while it wasn't my favorite PTA film, I loved the look of it. I thought David Mullen was right on about the look they got (40's & 50's large format documentary photography). I don't agree that THE purpose of large format film always has to be ultimate sharpness, there are other characteristics of it that are nice too look at as well, and it's always nice to see someone try something a little different visually and not adhere slavishly to any particular convention. The still photography that David was referencing is a very different look from what Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and the like were doing at the time, but they were both beautiful and valid approaches. I think we all have things we'd love to see in a movie theater, and if more films were being made with large format film, more of our particular likes might be satisfied. I for one would love to see more like this, maybe something like The Prestige done with some big cameras, maybe some black and white large format, some really gritty 16 or 35mm black and white, you get the idea. Mix it up, experiment, recreate older looks, just have fun and make something good. And I'm sure everyone here would pay good money to see a David Mullen western or sci-fi movie shot with large format! (Just now I was reminded of the first time I saw Casino Royale in the theater, and how badly I wanted to see the whole film shot like the first 5 minutes were. Wouldn't that be great?)

PS- I too loved Freddie's department store meltdown, the whole look of it was great! The lighting, the camera movement, the attention to detail in the store and the customer's clothes. And it made me want to track down a nice fast Aero Ektar lens for my Graflex, put a little tilt on it with the lens wide open on a few sheets of color film and make some dreamy images. Inspiring work by Mr. Malaimare.
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#20 Nate Opgenorth

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 08:46 PM

Late response but better late than never...

http://www.theasc.co...aster/page1.php

Just gonna leave that link there since it provides allot of details on the cinematography.

Good question. I guess I'd just really like to use 65mm, but I'll be the first one to admit that's a bad reason to choose any format. Even if I were able to justify using 65mm for a short, the problem with that is that there are no 70mm projectors around the festival circuit. Very few even project prints at all. Also the screens in the US are nowhere near as large as they once were (even the one at the Ziegfeld seems to have shrunk.) So with no 70mm projector and no giant screen to project the film onto, anything shot on 65mm film hoping for festival distribution is automatically relegated to the realms of HD video. You automatically lose the grandeur of the format that way.

That was another reason I was disappointed with The Master. P.T. Anderson didn't take full advantage of the format.

"I'd just really like to use 65mm" is a perfect excuse for a small project I think....I mean as long as style of the story its self wouldn't be destroyed by large format cinematography I think its a good choice. I can think of an example where 65mm would be bad (well allot of examples actually!) for the story's overally feel (of course thats subjective but think of your favorite grainy B&W movie thats just flat and stopped down but looks great and imagine it in clean 65mm...yeah). But to my main point I don't think the grandeur of the format is lost when its not projected in 70mm, the DoF characteristics, the lack of distortion on "wide" lenses, background compression, clean yet very celluloid look, etc. are very obvious looks to me. I feel like the look of larger sensor/film plane stuff makes it almost 3D, maybe from the depth of field but even in a scene where there is a bunch of DoF it just looks bigger! Wide and medium shots look much much grander and the perspective of everything else in relation to each other is obviously different. I don't think pixels can really take away from that unless you really really dump the quality down. Even at 1080p movies like The Master and The Dark Knight Rises the larger formats are just head over heals different than other movies. While 70mm projection would be preferred If I shot 65mm in a day where it was impossible to do anything other than Digital Intermediate I'd be pretty happy about it so long as I got a nice 4K+ scan, and I'm not a resolution Nazi I just think 65mm deserves at least 4K. P.T. Anderson didn't use the full 2.20:1 and preferred 1.85:1 (for the look of the era) but I still think it looked good. Personally I think something like 2.35:1 or pardon me 2.00:1 would have looked better.

 

Just saw this the other night, and while it wasn't my favorite PTA film, I loved the look of it. I thought David Mullen was right on about the look they got (40's & 50's large format documentary photography). I don't agree that THE purpose of large format film always has to be ultimate sharpness, there are other characteristics of it that are nice too look at as well, and it's always nice to see someone try something a little different visually and not adhere slavishly to any particular convention. The still photography that David was referencing is a very different look from what Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and the like were doing at the time, but they were both beautiful and valid approaches. I think we all have things we'd love to see in a movie theater, and if more films were being made with large format film, more of our particular likes might be satisfied. I for one would love to see more like this, maybe something like The Prestige done with some big cameras, maybe some black and white large format, some really gritty 16 or 35mm black and white, you get the idea. Mix it up, experiment, recreate older looks, just have fun and make something good. And I'm sure everyone here would pay good money to see a David Mullen western or sci-fi movie shot with large format! (Just now I was reminded of the first time I saw Casino Royale in the theater, and how badly I wanted to see the whole film shot like the first 5 minutes were. Wouldn't that be great?)

PS- I too loved Freddie's department store meltdown, the whole look of it was great! The lighting, the camera movement, the attention to detail in the store and the customer's clothes. And it made me want to track down a nice fast Aero Ektar lens for my Graflex, put a little tilt on it with the lens wide open on a few sheets of color film and make some dreamy images. Inspiring work by Mr. Malaimare.

Agreed it wasn't my favorite PTA film either. I loved the look and the colors were amazing and as David said the deep blues were beautiful. The Ansel Adams look was nothing I would have wanted in this film, none the less the Ansel Adams look is something that is of course a valid approach and wind numbingly beautiful in a different right. The Department store meltdown for me was great, I'm not sure whether it was the way it was shot vs just being in 65 or probably both but I loved it. I actually tracked a friend down and made him let me use his medium format camera!

 

The beginging of Casino Royale was pure gold for me though, I heard people complain in the theater when I saw it on launch day and I was just smiling widely like an idiot because it was beautiful, I would have loved to have seen it shot in that Black and White as well, that Eastmen Double-X gets me so good, I think I watched that intro more than a healthy amount of time prior to discovering Raging Bulls beautiful cinematography. I keep copies of films on a hard drive because whenever I need inspiration for a photo or an idea or just think of an awesome look I love to just relive it again.


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