Photo at top of page by Jonny Cournoyer, courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
The May 2018 issue of American Cinematographer will arrive shortly, featuring in-depth production pieces on the feature films A Quiet Place, Chappaquiddick and Beirut, the TV series Riverdale, and a complete overview on the 32nd annual ASC Awards.
“In A Quiet Place,the perils of parenting are addressed metaphorically in a tense horror thriller,” says editor-in-chef and publisher Stephen Pizzello in his opening note for the issue. “Cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen collaborated with actor, screenwriter and director John Krasinski [both seen in the image at the top of this page] — who cast his real-life spouse, actor Emily Blunt, as his onscreen wife — to craft a chilling tale about a family that must stay silent to elude terrifying creatures who hunt their prey via sound.”
Much of the movie’s action plays out with very little dialogue. “We created images that sound designers could give a proper sound to, so viewers feel they are right there.” Christensen tells AC contributor Jean Oppenheimer. “If you are far away on a long lens, it wouldn’t be realistic to hear subtle sounds; if you get physically close to a character or object, even faint noises would become audible. It became our way of ‘photographing sound.’ It was also the impetus behind mixing anamorphic and spherical lenses.’”
Christensen was recently the subject of an AC web-exclusive article on her work in writer-director Aaron Sorkin's gambling drama Molly’s Game.
“Chappaquiddick and Beirut both base their drama on true stories,” Pizzello continues. “The former, shot by Maryse Alberti, revisits the 1969 tragedy involving Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, who caused the death of Mary Jo Kopechne when he drove his car off a bridge and into a pond. In an article by AC contributor Iain Marcks, Alberti explains how she visualizes a story: ‘When I start to read a script, my process is very intuitive. It’s like seeing through a fog, and as I get into the story, the fog parts slowly, bit by bit.’
“In Beirut, former U.S. diplomat Mason Skiles — played by Jon Hamm — must emerge from the haze of alcoholism after he’s summoned back to Lebanon to negotiate the release of an American hostage. Shooting in Tangier, director Brad Anderson sought a look that was raw and real, combining documentary and cinema aesthetics. Björn Charpentier, SBC — profiled as one of our “Rising Stars of Cinematography” in 2017 — was tapped for his speed on set, his ability to capture handheld shots on the fly, and what Anderson describes as his ‘gung-ho’ attitude. ‘We had a general idea of what the action would be, but we didn’t really determine camera angles or pans, so [my camera movement] was very intuitive,’ Charpentier tells AC contributor Patricia Thomson. Sometimes it was a fraction too early or late, but it made it real, more documentary style.’”
The television series Riverdale presents a highly stylized view of the fictional town made famous in the Archie Comics saga, which is given a very dark spin in the show.
Notes Pizzello, “Brendan Uegama, CSC, who shot all 22 episodes of the second season, was tasked with creating the ominous ambience mandated by series creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. ‘I had used a lot of atmosphere in some of my previous work, including [the series] Van Helsing, and Roberto loved that,’ Uegama tells AC contributor Rachael Bosley. He said, ‘I want atmosphere in every shot all the time, inside and outside. I want it to be a character in the show; I want texture in every frame.’”
This May issue’s special focus on optics is brought into sharp relief in the Shot Craft section, as well as in sidebars for all of the main features.
Look for the print and digital editions of the May issue to arrive soon.
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