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.
24 February 1993 (USA)
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Also Known As:
Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography
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Gross USA: $799,856
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Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?
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
I understood at that moment that cinema really has no nationality.
Features Shanghai Express
from "Carnival of the Animals"
Music by Camille Saint-Saëns
Played during the film's introduction. See more