Camerimage 2014 Preview

thefilmbook by Benjamin BGreetings from Bydgoszcz, Poland, home of Camerimage, the best and biggest cinematography festival in the world, which begins tomorrow.

Camerimage is a wonderful combination of screenings, seminars, workshops, and parties. This post gives you a preview of some the coming attractions in the next 9 days, and may also help to orient people who don’t know the Festival well.

Camerimage 2014 Preview -thefilmbook-

The Camerimage app

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Strangers on a Train 4 – darkness, leitmotifs, symphony

thefilmbook by Benjamin BThis is my fourth and final commentary on the classic thriller Strangers on a Train by Alfred Hitchcock.

My first post discussed the opening sequence, comparing the shooting script to the film, and Truffaut’s vision of Hitchcock as auteur. My second post discussed the Bruno character as a great bad guy, the director’s penchant for cinematic trains, and his seamless blend of locations and rear screens. My third post discussed guilt, and an erotic and suspenseful murder.

As before, this post assumes that you’ve seen the movie, and what follows may make more sense if you’ve read the previous posts.

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Bruno (Robert Walker) and Guy (Farley Granger) hiding behind a gate in Strangers on a Train (1951) by Alfred Hitchcock with cinematography by Robert Burks, ASC

Every visual element advances and serves the story


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‘Strangers on a Train’ 3 – Murder

thefilmbook by Benjamin BThis is my third commentary on the classic thriller Strangers on a Train by Alfred Hitchcock.

My first post discussed the opening sequence, comparing the shooting script to the film, and Truffaut’s vision of Hitchcock as auteur. My second post discussed the Bruno character as a great bad guy, the director’s penchant for cinematic trains, and his seamless blend of locations and rear screens.

I now turn to the event that happens in every Hitchcock film: murder.

This post assumes that you’ve seen the movie, in other words: spoiler alert! Also, what follows may make more sense if you’ve read the previous posts.

Strangers on a Train - 26-38-Myriam lit by lighter -thefilmbook-

Myriam (Laura Elliott) illuminated by the MacGuffin in Strangers on a Train (1951) by Alfred Hitchcock with cinematography by Robert Burks, ASC

Truffaut said that Hitchcock filmed lovemaking as if it was murder, and filmed murder as if it was lovemaking


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IBC People: A Photo Album

thefilmbook by Benjamin BI recently returned from IBC, the best and biggest European trade show for cinema and television tools, held in the wonderful city of Amsterdam.

There were many interesting technical topics and products showcased there, and I will return to those in future posts.

As always, IBC was also the occasion to meet and speak with many people from the production and post-production industry, both in the technical conferences and on the show floor. And I thought it would be good to offer a post that, for once, highlights the people rather than the products.

IBC 3D screening -thefilmbook-


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It is in this spirit that I post a photo album featuring some of the portraits I’ve taken at IBC over the past five years. They include friends and colleagues, movers and shakers, industry captains and foot soldiers, cinematographers and post-producers, filmmakers and manufacturers, and some of the people who took time to explain movie technology to me.

The images are intentionally jumbled chronologically, to render a blended view of the recent past. Of course, there are many important people who I don’t have photos of — you know who you are. My apologies, I will try to make up for this shortcoming next year :)

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Interview – Luc Besson 2

thefilmbook by Benjamin BI wrote an article about Lucy that appears in the September issue of American Cinematographer, highlighting the beautiful lighting of cinematographer Thierry Arbogast, AFC. This post presents the second part of an expanded version of my interview with director/operator Luc Besson, going into more detail than we could in print.

If you haven’t read part 1 of my interview, I recommend going there first.


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Luc Besson framing Scarlett Johansson for Lucy-

Luc Besson framing a shot on Lucy with Scarlett Johansson

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Interview – Luc Besson 1

thefilmbook by Benjamin BI wrote an article about Lucy that appears in the September issue of American Cinematographer, highlighting the beautiful lighting of cinematographer Thierry Arbogast, AFC.

While preparing the article, I had the opportunity to have a lengthy and interesting conversation with director/operator Luc Besson.

This post presents the first part of an expanded version of my interview with him, going into more detail than we could in print.

Note: I shall continue my analysis of Strangers on a Train in October.


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Luc Besson operating on Lucy-

Director/operator Luc Besson on the set of Lucy with Scarlett Johansson

When I was young I was far from the actors, because I was afraid of them. Then with time I got closer to them. Now I’m only a meter away

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‘Strangers on a Train’ 2 – Bad Guy, Trains, Rear Screens

thefilmbook by Benjamin BThis is my second commentary on the classic thriller Strangers on a Train by Alfred Hitchcock.

My first post discussed the opening sequence, comparing the shooting script to the film, and Truffaut’s vision of Hitchcock as auteur.

Strangers on a Train 2-26 the meeting -thefilmbook-

Strangers on a Train by Alfred Hitchcock (1951), with cinematography by Robert Burks

The stronger the bad guy, the better the film

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‘Strangers on a Train’ 1 – Shoes, Script, Auteurs

thefilmbook by Benjamin BGreetings from the coast of Normandie!

Summer is a good time to view and review classic films. It is in this spirit that I begin a commentary on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 masterpiece, Strangers on a Train, filmed by his longtime cinematographer, Robert Burks, ASC.


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Alfred Hitchcock s Strangers on a Train-

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Interview with Harris Savides – The Filmmaking Process

thefilmbook by Benjamin BA few months ago, I posted an audio interview with the late, great Harris Savides, ASC, about his approach to contrast.

This post continues my informal conversation with Harris at the Camerimage Festival many years ago, but this time with a focus on his filmmaking process with director Gus van Sant on the Death Trilogy.


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Last Days 2 by Gus van Sant dp Harris Savides -thefilmbook-

Last Days by Gus van Sant, cinematography by Harris Savides, ASC

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Zsigmond Zooms

thefilmbook by Benjamin BVilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC, received the Pierre Angenieux ExcelLens in Cinematography Award during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

I spoke to my friend Vilmos about the event, and about zooms and zooming.

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Andurand Deneuve Vilmos Zsigmond and his zoom -thefilmbook

Applauded by Pierre Andurand and Catherine Deneuve, Vilmos Zsigmond holds up the ExcelLens zoom lens prize at the Cannes Festival (photo Benjamin B)

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