Roger Deakins is as close to “cinematographer royalty” as one can get Hollywood. The Coen Brothers favourite has lensed such movies as, “Barton Fink,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Fargo,” as well as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Skyfall.” Below is an interview Deakins did with “Cinematographer Style.” Highlights include his explanation of how different lenses affect the audience and his personal approach to choosing lenses.
Danny Boyle recently took a few moments to discuss the current state of cinema. His comments address the lack of “sophisticated, complex and pleasurable movies” being made for adult audiences today. Like Steven Soderbergh last month, Boyle is reflecting a growing sense of dissatisfaction within the ranks of the movie-making and movie-watching community.
Steven Soderbergh delivered an impressive speech on “The State of Cinema” at this year’s San Francisco Film Festival. Soderbergh begins by separating films into two classes: cinema and movies. Unfortunately, as Soderbergh points out, “cinema” is an endangered species. The drive of his speech is devoted to asking the question: why?
Great opening movie scenes usually satisfy several audience needs or demands. They are entertaining. They are emotionally engaging. And they establish an honest “contract with the audience.” That is, they lay ground rules for the experience the filmmaker is promising to deliver, in terms of tone, style and content. This contract does not mislead, over-reach or promise something the movie will not deliver.
Apart from students of technique or cultural context, Robert Bresson’s movies tend not to connect with larger audiences. Nor do they seem timeless. Some need to be seen more than once for a proper understanding and appreciation. Modern audiences are likely to find his films boring or little engaging. In our quest to understand how to make great movies, we ask: why? Below are five Bresson traits that make audience enjoyment difficult: