La Haine (Kassovitz, 1995) - still

La Haine - still

“Insofar as colour contributes, in V.F. Perkin’s words, to ‘an ideal conception of a cinema complete with natural sound and colour’, then black and white (today) appears particulary non-realistic. In fact, such is the perceived distance between naturalism and black and white that the Dogme movements, perhaps the index of naturalism in contemporary cinema, ‘banned’ it. Rule 4 of the Dogme manifesto states that ‘the film must be in colour’; black and white is ‘an indulgence’. […] La Haine is made of (by my count) 352 shots. For a total length of 87 minutes, this gives – excluding the montage sequence- an average shot length (ASL) of almost 15seconds (14.95 to be exact – 13.75 if one includes the montage). If this is not unusual for a French film, it is remarkably slow compared to American movies, whose ASL in the 1990s, according to David Bordwell, typically averaged between three and six seconds. The average figure of 15 seconds, however, disguises huge differences: La Haine alternates long takes lasting 40 seconds or more (some more than one minute) with clusters of very short ones. For instance, action scenes use very rapid cutting: the exchange between the three boys and the television journalists (38 seconds in nine takes: ASL 4.2 seconds), the car theft (two minutes 22 seconds for 24 takes: ASL 5.9 seconds) and Vinz’ imaginary shooting of the traffic wardens (28 seconds for 14 takes: ASL 2 seconds). A lot has been made, including by Kassovitz, of the different ways of shooting the cité in the first half of the film as opposed to Paris in the second half: ‘the idea –though hard to bring off- was that on the estate we should use short lenses, to fix people against the background, and then much longer lenses in Paris, to detach them and really have them stand out.’”
[Ginette Vincendeau. La Haine. London-New York: A.B. Tauris (in de serie Ciné-Files French Film Guides), 2005.pp50-51]


The Yards (Gray, 2000) - still

The Yards - still

“At the time, kodak was making film that was sharper, blacker with more colourful greens and reds, but we wanted to go back to a look of film that would encompass this theme. James thaught me that there is no real black in painting – no Kodak black. And he wanted these purplish, brownish blacks and we had to try to figure out what to do. So one of the rules was to use only tertiary colours on The Yards, to make the film more monochromatic in colour values and more desaturated. We tested all these different lenses, to find ones that work together and have the right contrast and we decided to use anamorphic Panavision C lenses which were such a freaky set of lenses. They’re milky, there’s a veiling to them that is sometimes grossly out of whack. It looks as if the lens is totally flared, so you have to weed the really bad ones out and find a set that matches. We shot most of the wide stuff on a 35mm lens and the longer stuff was filmed on a 75mm lens.”
[Harris Savides in New Cinematographers [ed. Alexander Ballinger]. London: Laurence King Publishing. 2004. p. 168]


Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999) - still

Being John Malkovich - still

“Friends of mine saw Being John Malkovich and they were like, “Jesus Christ, have you calibrated your light meters lately?” We have underexposed the hell out of the film and used Kodak 320 T 5277 throughout with a little bit of Kodak 500 T 5279. Rather than rating the 5277 at 320 ASA we rated it at 1000, so it was just a super thin negative, to give it  that really textural, smoky, black, grainy look. Spike wanted to go even further in the timing and we ended up flashing a lot of it. […] The shots on Maxine are rock steady, she is self-assured, detached and says the right things at the right time, whereas the shots on John Cusack are hand-held to create an uneasy awkward sort of tension.”
[Lance Acord in New Cinematographers [ed. Alexander Ballinger]. London: Laurence King Publishing. 2004. pp. 14-19]

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