7.7/10
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21 user 29 critic

Visions of Light (1992)

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to... See full summary »

Writer:

Todd McCarthy
Reviews
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ernest R. Dickerson ... Himself (as Ernest Dickerson)
Michael Chapman ... Himself
Allen Daviau ... Himself
Caleb Deschanel ... Himself
Lisa Rinzler Lisa Rinzler ... Herself
Conrad L. Hall ... Himself (as Conrad Hall)
William A. Fraker ... Himself
John Bailey ... Himself
Néstor Almendros ... Himself (as Nestor Almendros)
Charles Rosher Jr. Charles Rosher Jr. ... Himself (as Charles D. Rosher)
Vilmos Zsigmond ... Himself
Stephen H. Burum Stephen H. Burum ... Himself
Harry L. Wolf Harry L. Wolf ... Himself (as Harry Wolf)
Charles Lang ... Himself (as Charles B. Lang)
Sven Nykvist ... Himself
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Storyline

Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography), illustrating their points with clips from 100 films, from Birth of a Nation to Do the Right Thing. Themes: the DP tells people where to look; changes in movies (the arrival of sound, color, and wide screens) required creative responses from DPs; and, these artisans constantly invent new equipment and try new things, with wonderful results. The narration takes us through the identifiable studio styles of the 30s, the emergence of noir, the New York look, and the impact of Europeans. Citizen Kane, The Conformist, and Gordon Willis get special attention. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Art of Cinematography


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Japan | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,761, 28 February 1993

Gross USA:

$799,856

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$799,856
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Todd McCarthy had hoped to include an interview with the legendary cinematographer, John Alton, whose work is highlighted in the film, but could not locate him. Alton had quit the movie business after working on Elmer Gantry (1960), and for many years, even close friends didn't know his whereabouts, or if he was still alive. In 1992, McCarthy was shocked to receive a phone call from the now 91-year-old Alton, who had heard about Visions of Light (1992), and wanted to attend the premiere. Alton insisted that there was nothing mysterious in his disappearance, that he and his wife had simply decided to give up the movie business and travel a bit. They had lived in France, Germany, and Argentina, and had a great time. Alton died in 1996 at the age of 95. See more »

Quotes

Vittorio Storaro: I understood at that moment that cinema really has no nationality.
See more »

Connections

Features McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

The Aquarium
from "Carnival of the Animals"
Music by Camille Saint-Saëns
Played during the film's introduction.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Entertaining and informative documentary on cinematography.
26 August 2004 | by shawnserdarSee all my reviews

This is a great documentary, of interest to any student of film or anyone who wants to deepen their appreciation of movies. The film showcases some great cinematographers (Caleb Deschanel, Conrad Hall, Gregg Toland, etc.) chronologically, giving a brief history of film at the same time -- it interviews the cinematographers at it shows countless clips from all sorts of film.

My only complaint is that, despite the work from several foreign cinematographers, the films are mostly American (this doc was made after all by the AFI), and so it skips out some great legendary international films (from Kurosawa, Bergman, etc.) that deserve equal attention.


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