At the risk of stating the fairly obvious: movies are a visual medium. Sure, you have actors speaking lines of dialog, music, sound effects and a whole host of other elements that go into the final motion picture experience. But first, you have the image, the picture, the light and shadow. Think back to all the movies you've loved over the years and what comes to mind? For me, its occasionally a great line of dialog I remember fondly. But more often, its a series of iconic images etched in my mind from the films I've seen.

John Wayne standing in the doorway at the end of The Searchers, T.E. Lawrence walking on top of the train, triumphant and defiant, after he and his men attacked it in Lawrence of Arabia, De Niro's violent slo-mo ballet in the ring as boxer Jake La Motta in Raging Bull, Janet Leigh meeting Norman Bates' "mother" while taking a shower in Psycho, the hands pointing to the sky indicating where the sounds made by the aliens came from or the giant mothership almost obscuring Devil's Tower in Close Encounters of the Third Kind and yes, even the "Rosebud" sled burning in the furnace at the end of Citizen Kane. These images, and so many more, helped define the "look" of movies then and now -- and will continue to do so far into the future.

So, I feel its fitting that Variety is currently running some articles that specifically address one of the most important jobs of the filmmmaking process and one of the major -- if not the major -- element that determine the "look" of any movie -- the cinematographer. In the articles, many of the top cinematographers working today, such as Newton Thomas Sigel, Tom Stern, Emmanuel Lubezki and the great Michael Ballhaus, discuss the latest tools and techniques that allow them to push the boundaries of filmmaking and further shape how movies look. In addition, Variety also interviews many other cinematographers, such as Wally Pfister of The Prestige, Robert Richardson of The Good Shepherd and Rodrigo Prieto of Babel, about "facing the challenges, aesthetics and problem-solving behind some of this year's most visually compelling pix." All in all, a good series of articles and a good way to pay a little well-deserved respect to these artists.
categories Movies, Cinematical