Cinematographer Style

I saw a screening of a new talking-heads documentary called Cinematographer Style last week. I can’t offer a general recommendation, since it really is a talking-heads documentary — no movie clips at all — and I know that makes lots of people itch. But it’s a very good-looking talking-heads documentary, and it does offer the pleasure of seeing cinematographers (call them “directors of photography” at your own risk) in their native habitat (that is, up on a movie screen) and listening to them go on about their lives and art. It’s especially fun in the moments when several of them take control of the shoot, swapping out lenses or lights to make a point. Interviews with something like 110 different cinematographers are compressed into about 96 minutes, so if you do the math you’ll see how quickly this thing actually moves. (Vittorio Storaro and Gordon Willis are the real stars of the show.) But if you have a more-than-cursory interest in the art and craft of cinematography, it’s worth a look if you get the chance.

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