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No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2008)

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The lifelong friendship of the great cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond and their impact on American cinema.

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Title: No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2008)

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The artistry, triumph and lifelong friendship of the great cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond. With film school equipment, they shoot the Soviet crackdown of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. As refugees they struggle in Hollywood, finally breaking into the mainstream with their pivotal contribution to the "American New Wave." Written by Director

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11 January 2009 (USA)  »

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Laszlo & Vilmos: The Story of Two Refugees Who Changed the Look of American Cinema  »

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Interesting though light on actual technical information about their work
9 July 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos" is a film about two of Hollywood's most accomplished cinematographers, Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond. The film is a nice tribute though it doesn't give a lot of information as to exactly WHY the two are so gifted and how they have brought new techniques to the movies. Because of this, it might not be a film that young cinematographers have to see, though it is nice to see a wide variety of Hollywood filmmakers, actors and camera people talking about what it was like to work with these men.

The film begins around the time of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Both Laszlo and Vilmos had attended film school in their country and they used their photographic skills to document the revolution and the counter-revolution led by the Russians. But, this also made their lives pretty worthless unless they could escape with their film. Fortunately, they were able to escape and soon landed in Hollywood. But, given that they were outsiders and not members of the union, their road was slow and filled with crap movies made on shoestring budgets (such as films they did with Ray Dennis Steckler). Slowly, they moved up to more prestige films and made a name for themselves with film like "Easy Rider", "Close Encounters", "Heaven's Gate" (where the film work was by far the best thing about this financial disaster), "Deliverance", "Targets" and "Paper Moon". Much of the film is spent discussing these films as well as giving just a bit of biographical information about the two. Mildly interesting and mostly the film is of interest to film students and the like.

By the way, although it thankfully did not continue as the film progressed, the movie had an annoying free-form jazz score that played during the early portion of the film. It was distracting and didn't fit the film.


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