Thursday Movie Picks: Female Cinematographers

a weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves

As soon as I saw this theme on this year's schedule I knew already the films I was going to pick, Ryan Coogler's. Because his direction doesn't only guarantee female cinematographers involved, but also great cinematography. 

And I know, technically it's only two cinematographers but the films are three so we are going to pretend it's okay haha. 

Rachel Morrison - Fruitvale Station (2013) and Black Panther (2018)

In Coogler's feature debut, Morrison's cinematography — she makes it look as if the film is cell phone footages — conveys both the intimacy of the story and its danger. In the Marvel flick, on the other hand, it is simply beautiful. 

Maryse Alberti - Creed (2015)

Alberti's cinematography brings a visual freshness, and originality to the Rocky franchise, and her long take scenes do a wonderful job at bringing to the screen the intimacy of a boxing ring and match. 

16 comments :

  1. A theme within the theme! Love those, and two cinematographers over three films works just fine.

    Thanks for the reminder that I have yet to see Black Panther! Whenever I hear it mentioned I think "I should watch that" and mean to but then promptly forget all about it. A large part of that is superhero burnout but I've heard so many positive reviews I should make an exception.

    I hear anything related to the Rocky franchise and I run in the opposite direction. I liked but didn't love the original but admired Stallone's determination to bring it to fruition. However my admiration ends there. The second was a trial, the third an endurance test and I swore off anything remotely attached ever since.

    Fruitvale Station is also a blind spot but is on my long too see list.

    This one was a challenge since female cinematographers are hardly in plentiful supply. My first thought was to venture back to silents when the industry was more wide open but while I found several women directors I couldn't find any female cinematographers, particularly of films that I'd seen. So to Google I went and manage to find three that I had seen but hadn't realized were shot by women.

    Beach Rats (2017)-Teen Frankie (Harris Dickinson) drifts aimlessly between his bleak home life, his loser friends, a potential new girlfriend and the older men he meets online. While narratively diffuse, cinematographer Hélène Louvart immerses the film in a shifting collage of mood and atmosphere, smells, sounds, colors, the look of skin in sunlight and darkness, back-lit by the seedy-glamorous colored lights of the picture’s Coney Island setting.

    Beau Travail (1999)-French Foreign Legion sergeant Galoup (Denis Lavant) must deal with his jealousy when new recruit Sentain (Grégoire Colin) becomes a hero in the eyes of his men. Frustrated that Forestier (Michel Subor) the superior he admires, does not share his resentment for Sentain, Galoup's envy of the recruit becomes too much for him bear and his downward spiral begins. Cinematographer Agnès Godard uses the sun-bleached terrains of the film’s East Africa setting and juxtaposes it to the sun kissed taut physiques of the participants creating what was termed a “voluptuous austerity” upon the picture’s release.

    Swoon (1992)-A highly stylized recounting of the infamous thrill killing of young Bobby Frank by rich teens Nathan Leopold Jr. (Craig Chester) and Richard Loeb (Daniel Schlachet) that led to one of the most notorious trials of the 1920’s. Cinematographer Ellen Kraus uses a black & white palette to blend the anachronistic touches of the film into the disturbing sadomasochistic tone of the story.

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    1. Black Panther deserves all the praises it gets as it's such a well made film. And you really need to check out Fruitvale Station because it's Coogler's best in my opinion.

      Beau Travail is the only pick of yours that I have seen and, while I wasn't a fan of the film, I really liked the cinematography.

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  2. Rachel Morrison is perhaps the most acclaimed female DP working today. Haven't seen Fruitvale Station yet but her work in Black Panther is simply astounding.

    I also have Maryse Alberti on my list, Velvet Goldmine is a gorgeous film but then she also did Creed which is just as beautiful but more subdued.

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    1. I highly recommend Fruitvale Statino as not only it has great cinematography but it's also a great film.

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  3. Now those are incredible films as I definitely await for what Ryan Coogler will do next as he's definitely got great taste in cinematographers.

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    1. I too am looking forward to his next work(s).

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  4. I am so glad to see Rachel Morrison on your list as well. She is a terrific cinematographer and really paved the way for other women in the industry.

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    1. She is easily my favourite female DP. Her work is simply mesmerizing.

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  5. Nice picks! We share him as a sub-theme this week. I picked both cinematographers but different films - Creed and Black Panther.

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  6. Black Panther seems to be a popular pick this week - it's a great movie! :-D

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  7. I have not seen the first film but if done through a cell phone style, I don't think I care to. I do like Black Panther and it is beautifully shot but it is not a favourite of mine. Maybe the hype got to me but I liked other marvel films better. Creed was good and I am not a Rocky fan but this was a good film and well shot.

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    1. I really recommend that one though. The story is so beautiful and quite heartbreaking, and the camera work really makes it more powerful.

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  8. Creed is one I want to see.
    I don't remember how Fruitvale Station looked like but I didn't like the movie. I'm probably in the minority, I didn't like Black Panther as well...only got part way through it.

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I have the feeling you will not like Creed either.

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