The Game (1997) - dir. David Fincher
No Country for Old Men not only is chockablock full of incredible performances by Jones, Bardem and Brolin — but also behind-the-scenes as well. Legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins talks with NPR’s Melissa Block about one of his favorite scenes from the film.
You read the script, if you’re attracted by the script, then whomever it is you need to know that you’re going to connect with the person you’re working with. You need to view the material in a similar way. With the Coen Brothers it’s interesting because there is very little shot that isn’t used. We don’t shoot very much in terms of raw footage at all. Very few extras set-ups. It’s so well worked out. They’re so precise in knowing what they want. Their scripts are so visual, the way they are written. So much comes from that. How do you say where the cinematography ends and the production design takes over? And how can you go wrong if you’re shooting a close-up of Tommy Lee Jones? You know what I mean? It’s a wonderfully powerful image. The dialogue he’s speaking and the performance he gave, you don’t really have to do much, you know. —A Modest Lens: An Interview with Roger Deakins
What a genius script looks like. Read, learn, and absorb: The Coen Brothers’ screenplay for No Country for Old Men. Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy. [pdf1, pdf2]. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)
A harrowing story of a war that society is waging on itself, and an enduring meditation on the ties of love and blood and duty that inform lives and shape destinies, No Country for Old Men is a novel of extraordinary resonance and power. Joel and Ethan Coen wrestle with point of view and capturing the inner lives of the strong silent types in their first produced adaptation of a novel. —Harsh Country by Jeff Goldsmith, Creative Screenwriting Magazine, January/February 2008
With thanks to LoSceicco1976
The symmetry of Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood
Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel both called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse the best movie of 1991. The film is a detailed and brutally frank look at the debacle that occurred behind the scenes during the years in which Francis Ford Coppola worked on Apocalypse Now. Few filmmakers would be secure enough to allow a major film to be released showing them on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but Coppola has always been a maverick. His wife Eleanor went along with him to the Phillipines to film what was envisioned as a stanard behind-the-scenes publicity featurette for the big budget Vietnam War epic. However, as events spun out of control, Eleanor captured her husband at his most vulnerable moments — sometimes filming him surrpetitiously. What emerges is a fascinating look at a man trying to cope with disasters of Biblical proportions as the filming drags on from months to years.
Among the crisis Coppola must deal with:
- The unreliablity of the Phillipine military which had been contracted to provide helicopters and arms. As the dictator Marcos strove to hang on to power, the helicopters would be called away from the cinematic battles to fight real ones in the jungle against insurgents. Coppola is seen dealing with how to occupy an expensive cast and crew in the midst of a battle scene that cannot continue
- Coppola’s decision to fire leading man Harvey Keitel shortly after filming commenced
- Replacement leading man Martin Sheen suffering a massive heart attack in the midst of filming
- A typhoon destroys the entire production company’s HQ and expensive sets
- Coppola, over schedule and over-budget, is forced to hock everything he has to pay for the budget increases
- Star Marlon Brando’s arrival on the set—unprepared, uncooperative and grossly overweight
All of this makes for a mesmerizing cinematic experience and is in itself a great work of art about one of the greatest films made during the 1970s. —Lee Pfeiffer
Overall, this masterpiece documentary is a must-have on your shelf.
With special thanks to Larry Wright for the Vimeo link
American Cinematographer: Photographing Barry Lyndon. March 1976 edition of American Cinematographer Magazine with two Kubrick-related articles, each covering the cinematography of Barry Lyndon. One article focuses generally on the cinematography, while the other focuses more closely on the specialized lenses utilized for the film. [thanks to Tim Pelan]
Documentary excerpt detailing the production of Kubrick’s masterpiece:
This Videomaker segment examines a scene from a film that took low-light shooting to new levels. Barry Lyndon, released in 1975, still holds the title for the lowest f-stop lens used in a film. With the beautifully crafted shots in the film, it’s no surprise that Director of Photography John Alcott won the Academy Award for best cinematography. Deconstructing Cinematography looks at an incredibly lit scene, using only three candles.
All the essential documentaries on Kubrick, including Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001), Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes (2008), The Art of Stanley Kubrick: From Short Films to Strangelove (2000), Cinefile: Stanley Kubrick — The Invisible Man (1996), Without Walls: Forbidden Fruit (1993), Full Metal Jacket: Between Good and Evil (2007), Still Tickin’: The Return of A Clockwork Orange (2000), 2001: The Making of a Myth (2001), Making ‘The Shining’ (1980), The Visions of Stanley Kubrick (2007), Lost Kubrick: The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick (2007), and Inside: 'Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb' (2000).
If you are in touch with how the director thinks in terms of the whole film, you can take more chances, because you know what he’s going to use & what he isn’t.
— Dariusz Wolski, ASC (AC, June ‘96)
This is amazing
Derek Cianfrance behind the scenes of The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Director Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford on the set of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
Director François Truffaut on the set of La femme d’à côté (1981).
Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.
— Brian Eno, A Year With Swollen Appendices (via volumexii)
On the set of “Le Dernier Métro”
Might be interning for THE technocrane operator in Chicago…..hopefully if I impress I could get pulled on as an assistant for the bigger shows later this summer