Mitch’s Alternative list of the Best-Shot films of the past decade

Posted: August 4, 2010 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, Hollywood, News
Tags: , , ,

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Ramanand says:

    8 shows up as an emoticon (the ‘cool’ smiley) because WordPress automatically turns every ‘(‘ followed by ‘8’ into that symbol (just like with : + ).

    Apart from that, nice post!

  2. Shripriya says:

    Good post, Mitch. I see some familiar faces in those photos 🙂

  3. Rusted rick says:

    Duh Mitchy getting more publicity 😦

    I see no Herzog film made the cut. Interesting. No Coen either.
    Bangkok Dangerous?

  4. moifightclub says:

    @Mitch – why Once ? If m not wrong, that doesn’t go with your definition. There story telling n songs took control.
    Also, Half Nelson ? remember it for the story telling.
    And yeah, agree with Rick…no No Country for old men ?

  5. moifightclub says:

    @Ramanand – aha, thnx for the tip 8)

  6. Justin says:

    C’mon! Where is “Let the Right One In”?!

  7. pratim says:

    Making a list of 110 is easy… to actually pick 10 is tough… American Cinematographer list is PERFECTO!! Not a foot, er film, wrong!!

  8. Mitch says:

    See closely coz Herzog and the Coens are included.
    It’s a case of what style of cinematography meshes totally with the story. A big budget romp for Once would have ruined the film while the verite was just perfect. Plus I love musicals :-).
    Sorry my bad dude. I would have sworn I had included LTROI in the list. Consider it the best shot 111 films then.
    True but again this is the alternate list based on nothing but my preferences and I was kinda bugged that they didn’t include documentaries coz as everyone knows making a doc look visually stunning is a much bigger achievement than doing it for a narrative.

  9. bksingh2009 says:

    “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”. – Agree with your definition.
    My list will have in order of preference
    1. There Will Be Blood – Its no 1 by a huge margin 2. Sin city 3. The Prestige 4. Fight Club 5. Waltz With Bashir- (not sure if this qualifies but I was transpored to its world)

  10. Abhishekh Singhal says:

    Hey , Thats not fair , I like your list but their are many movies which are missing like
    1. Mughle Azam
    2. Farewell my concubine
    3. Time Travellers Wife
    4. Good bad and the weird

  11. Abhishekh Singhal says:

    Hey mitch , i request you to publish list of best shot bollywood movies of all time….

  12. Among Indian movies … no Asoka or Dil se or even Tahaan ???

  13. kennydb says:

    Nuts. Have watched just 37 of these, but working on it. Watched Bangkok Dangerous and Children of Men couple o’ days back. Was totally blown away by the second and bored by the first. A Bittersweet Life next on the list

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