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Cinematographer’s Choice: Visually Stunning Films You Must Watch

I’ve always been a visual person, so when it comes to storytelling as I do as a filmmaker, I prefer to “show” more than “tell” people what’s going on. Suffice to say that I have a big appreciation of great cinematography where the images on the screen can add whole new dimension to the script. Check out five of my favorite gorgeously-shot films:

Image source: salon.com

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel – Truthfully, it’s hard to pick among Wes Anderson’s films because many of his recent films are just jaw-droppingly gorgeous. One can even safely assume that all shots are painstakingly planned right down to the minutest of details. I picked this one out of his many stunning movies because I loved the color palette, and having seen a featurette on how they made the film, I appreciate the hard work that went into it.
  • In the Mood for Love – This Wong Kar Wai masterpiece is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever seen. Cinematographers Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping Bin did an amazing job of taking me (and I’m sure many others) to 1960s Hong Kong. Thanks to their talent, you can feel the heat, the crowds, the silence, the loneliness, and the platonic and eventual romantic feelings of the lead characters.
  • Frances Ha – That it’s in black-and-white already makes Noah Baumbach’s stand out from its colored (and sometimes hyper-colored) contemporaries but DOP Sam Levy’s skills, deft eye, and understanding of the monochrome medium brought out Ms. Halliday’s (Greta Gerwig) confusion and loneliness, as well as her eventual optimism.
  • Gangs of New York – Immersive. That’s how I’d describe the 2002 Martin Scorsese film about the factions running 19th-century New York. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (no doubt, closely collaborating with the art directors) was able to capture the grit, squalor, violence, anger, and testosterone of the Sixth Ward. After watching this movie, I felt like I needed a good shower.
  • Hugo – This Scorsese film deserves its accolades (it won an Oscar for Best Cinematography, among others) for how Robert Richardson’s photography was able to make a train station so wonderful, exciting, and magical as the title character climbed ladders, ran through corridors, and fell down chutes.

 Image source: candidmagazine.com

New York-based filmmaker Steven Sorensen loves film on both the professional and personal levels. Learn more about his craft by following him on Facebook.

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