Eye on the Oscars: The Cinematographer

Very few cinematographers are as gifted as Alwin Kuchler, whose work on “Hanna” is among the best of this year due to his unique stylization.

The German d.p. — who learned his craft at London’s NFTS and moved recently to the United States — has an amazing eye, is capable of playing with a conventional thriller and always gives it a distinctive touch.

The best example is the amusement park in “Hanna,” where he plays with light and shadows, camera movement, colors and composition in a way that feels fresh, human and utterly impressive. Or those beginning scenes in the snow, where the combination of that special high-speed lens with soft light wraps the characters in the kind of beauty only masters can achieve.

Alwin’s body of work has always been impressive since he worked on Lynne Ramsay’s films “Ratcatcher” and “Morvern Callar” in Britain, so it is a joy to see that with the big-budget “Hanna.” His moody and always sensitive camerawork serves the story while still feeling incredibly personal.

Alwin is one of those shy characters who say it all with their kind eyes. His movies do not need a lot of talking either — you just need to watch and enjoy this visually striking force of nature.

Eduard Grau, one of Variety’s 10 Cinematographers to Watch in 2009, most recently shot “The Awakening” and counts “Buried” and “A Single Man” among his credits.

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