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1. Citizen Kane, 1941
Director: Orson Welles
Director of Photography: Gregg Toland
This film was revolutionary for its camera angles and the ‘awareness’ of the camera, for the first time, the camera wasn’t trying to disguise itself but its movements and angle choices were on full display.
The way Wells frames his subjects and the use of deep focus and perspective is also masterful and help the spectator fully immerse into the story.
2. Call Me By Your Name, 2017
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Director of Photography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
What makes the cinematography of this feature interesting is that it was completely shot using only one lens: the Cooke S4 35mm.
The idea of using a single lens for shooting the whole movie was to get the sense of the human eye while maintaining enough space around the subjects for the composition to still breathe.
Watch an interview with director Luca Guadagnino here.
3. Every Wes Anderson Movie
Director: Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson has a very distinctive style, you can recognise his movies at first glance.
He is extremely precise with symmetric scenes, wide-angle panoramas and uses a multitude of overhead shots and frame in a frame to tell his stories.
He also has a very distinctive use of colour.
4.The Graduate, 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
Director of Photography: Robert Surtees
This film’s cinematography has the task of making us feel what the protagonist feels: trapped.
We are constantly looking at him through something: a leg, furniture, doors, windows… This tool of ‘frame in a frame’ is successfully used to let us relate to the oppression and uncertainty in the future this graduate is facing at this stage in his life.
5.The King’s Speech, 2010
Director: Tom Hooper
Director of Photography: Danny Cohen
In this movie, Tom Hooper makes great use of ‘unbalanced frames’. We can trace that back to photography by calling it ‘negative space’. This compositional method is used here to signify the emotional discomfort of the main character and highlight his insecurities.
See more about how unbalanced frames affect our perception here.