Archive for August 4, 2010

Its not exactly VOTD. But Audio Of The Day! Its a rare radio interview of Kishore Kumar where he talks to Ameen Sayani about his three friends – all in three different voices & style, his brother Ashok Kumar, his singing and acting debut and lot of other things…all in his inimitable style!

The magic, the madness, the maverick and the mimicry! Play on!

But Mitch who ? Well, Mitch (born Mithun Gangopadhyay) is a proud black sheep born into a family of doctors who considers his life’s calling to have filmed in each of the seven continents. To his utter shame he has only managed two till now.

After cutting his teeth in Bolly-land, he’s doing his time in Holly where he’s been working in the Camera and Lighting Dept. The list of his credits belies his studly youthful looks (yes, even we can’t resist him). Gaffer, Cinematographer and his first love, Photographer (scroll down to check some of his super stuff) When he’s not fooling with smoke lenses, he’s either smoking the good stuff or fooling around. A taste for the finer things in life has almost killed him numerous times, but he managed to revive and write this post.

The bible of our business aka American Cinematographer recently published a list of the best 10 shot films of the decade.

Amélie: Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC (AC Sept. ’01)

Children of Men: Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC (AC Dec. ’06)

Saving Private Ryan: Janusz Kaminski (AC Aug. ’98)

There Will Be Blood: Robert Elswit, ASC (AC Jan. ’08)

No Country for Old Men: Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC (AC Oct. ’07)

Fight Club: Jeff Cronenweth, ASC (AC Nov. ’99)

The Dark Knight: Wally Pfister, ASC (AC July ’08)

Road to Perdition: Conrad L. Hall, ASC (AC Aug. ’02)

Cidade de Deus (City of God): César Charlone, ABC (AC Feb. ’03)

American Beauty: Conrad L. Hall, ASC (AC March & June ’00)

For the complete list, click here. It’s a pretty good list except for the fact that since the choice was by popular vote the winners tended to be those films which had gotten a lot of exposure. There were other films from around which I felt were equally as good but suffered from obscurity.

Hence, this is my list of the most visually striking films of the last decade, which includes narrative, documentary, animation as well as anime. With the exception of the LOTR trilogy, I have refrained from naming flicks which were CGI heavy. I totally see the contradiction that I name anime but not greenscreen but that’s just me.

I feel I also need to address the question of what is good cinematography ? A lot of people say that good cinematography should be invisible and the story should take precedence. I dunno if I agree with that. I mean what would Blade Runner, All that Jazz and Sunrise be without the virtuoso cinematography on display. I truly believe that stories in films are meant to be told with the camera and not with dialogue, which is why excessive classical Hollywood style coverage drives me crazy.

For what it’s worth my opinion is great cinematography is that which transports you to a place and makes you believe that what you are seeing is real. For me it’s gotta be visceral enough that I can imagine myself as a character in that movie. I need to taste and smell it and I think only the camera can do that until Smell O Vision makes a comeback like 3D.

A final note on my selection of films (2000-2010). The films are arranged randomly with no order of preference Some choices may leave scratching your heads while some omissions may make you furious. All I can say is that I might not have seen that film or not liked it enough. Since I don’t watch horror films their absence is particularly telling but that’s just the nature of the beast. Also I haven’t had a chance to watch much of regional Indian cinema so that category is also criminally neglected.

1) The Prestige (USA)

2) City of God (Brazil)

3) Amelie (France)

4) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (New Zealand)

5) Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain)

6) Wall-E (USA)

7) The Assassination of Jesse James (USA)

8) Into the Wild (USA)

9) The Motorcycle Diaries (Brazil)

10) Reprise (Norway)

11) The Lives of Others (Germany)

12) Requiem for a Dream (USA)

13) Children of Men (UK)

14) The New World (USA)

15) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (USA)

16) Gladiator (UK)

17) Black Hawk Down (USA)

18) Oldboy (South Korea)

19) A Bittersweet Life (South Korea)

20) District 9 (South Africa)

21) There Will be Blood (USA)

22) The Bourne Ultimatum (USA)

23) A Prophet (France)

24) Amores Perros (Mexico)

25) Tropa de Elite (Brazil)

26) Casa de Ariea (Brazil)

27) Hero (China)

28) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (China)

29) In the mood for Love (Hong Kong)

30) The Proposition (Australia)

31) Flame and Citron (Denmark)

32) Sunshine (UK)

33) Slumdog Millionaire (India)

34) Y tu mama tambien (Mexico)

35) The Dancer Upstairs (USA)

36) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (USA)

37) Eastern Promises (UK)

38) Carandiru (Brazil)

39) 5cm per second (Japan)

40) Paprika (Japan)

41) Exiled (Hong Kong)

42) Sex and Lucia (Spain)

43) Triad Election (Hong Kong)

44) Millennium Mambo (Taiwan)

45) The Devil’s Backbone (Spain)

46) Save the Green Planet (South Korea)

47) Bangkok Dangerous (Thailand)

48) Mysterious Skin (USA)

49) Invisible Waves (Thailand)

50) The Wind that shakes the Barley (UK)

51) Man on Fire (USA)

52) Control (UK)

53) Munich (USA)

54) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France)

55) Once (UK)

56) Vexille (Japan)

57) Spirited Away (Japan)

58) Silent Light (Mexico)

59) Reconstruction (Denmark)

60) Heima (Iceland)

61) Mongol (Mongolia)

62) The Dark Knight (USA)

63) Memories of Murder (South Korea)

64) Perfume (Germany)

65) Red Cliff (China)

66) The Good, The Bad and The Weird (South Korea)

67) The Hurt Locker (USA)

68) Infernal Affairs (Hong Kong)

69) Sin Nombre (Mexico)

70) Sugar (USA)

71) 2046 (Hong Kong)

72) Half Nelson (USA)

73) Intimate Stories (Argentina)

74) Into Great Silence (Germany)

75) Ghosts of Citi Soleil (Haiti)

76) Send a bullet (Brazil)

77) Coraline (USA)

78) The Fantastic Mr Fox (USA)

79) Mountain Patrol (China)

80) Encounters at the end of the World (Antartica)

81) Black Sun (USA)

82) District B13 (France)

83) Ghost in the Shell 2 (Japan)

84) Climates (Turkey)

85) The Headless Woman (Argentina)

86) Stranded (Argentina)

87) Read my Lips (France)

88) Antibodies (Germany)

89) Burnt Money (Argentina)

90) Paradise Now (Palestine)

91) Sin City (USA)

92) Ballast (USA)

93) The Libertine (UK)

94) Omkara (India)

95) 36 Quai des Orfevres (France)

96) Kaminey (India)

97) Dev D (India)

98) Uzak (Turkey)

99) Love me if you dare (France)

100) Daybreakers (Australia)

101) Marie Antoinette (USA)

102) A time for drunken horses (Iran)

103) Lebanon (Israel)

104) Restrepo (USA)

105) Road to Perdition (USA)

106) The man who wasn’t there (USA)

107) Far from Heaven (USA)

108) Girl with a Pearl Earring (Holland)

109) Frida (Mexico)

110) Three Times (Taiwan)

What else would you like to add to the list and why ? Do let us know.

PS – To catch Mitch’s work, click here. Have pasted some of the pics clicked by him in the slide show. The Sunrise poster is not by him ;-). The slideshow picked it up because its there in the post.

PPS – Strangely No. 8 is not showing in the post. You can see a smiley there. Not sure why and how! May be it knows how much we love the film!

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