Hagen Bogdanski on Emmanuel Lubezki

Eye on the Oscars: The Cinematographer

It is quite rare that I leave the cinema completely amazed, confused and at the same time delighted.

By watching “The Tree of Life,” I had the feeling of seeing something new — a cinematic language which took me by surprise.

The work of Terrence Malick I found always inspiring, but this time there was something else. The emotional imagery of his cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, took me deep into the story.

His camera is constantly moving (operated by Jorg Widmer and by himself), forever reframing in search of the moment — not for the sake of itself but for the definition of the film’s impressionistic manner. Also the dual perspective between the cosmic and momentary life. The space imagery created by the late Douglas Trumbull left me puzzled and wondering how the filmmakers achieved such a great experience.

But this is maybe not important, only for film nerds like me (and yes … I also believe in dinosaurs). It is the overwhelming emotional journey which pushed me into the cinema seat: the beautiful natural light, the uncompromising attention to all the details, the wonderful art direction and the almost unimaginable crispness and luminosity of the cinematography that makes me hope there are more films to come.

Hagen Bogdanski, who rose to prominence as the d.p. on “The Lives of Others,” recently shot “The Beaver” and “W.E.”


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