Here are 10 movies known for their exceptional cinematography and their respective directors, release years, and a brief prologue for each:
"Blade Runner 2049" (2017) Director of Photography: Roger Deakins Prologue: In this visually stunning sequel to the original "Blade Runner," a young blade runner, K, uncovers a long-buried secret that leads him on a quest to find former blade runner Rick Deckard. Roger Deakins' masterful cinematography brings to life a dystopian future filled with breathtaking cityscapes and atmospheric lighting.
"The Revenant" (2015) Director of Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki Prologue: Set in the early 19th century, "The Revenant" tells the story of a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, who survives a bear attack and seeks vengeance against those who left him for dead. Emmanuel Lubezki's use of natural light and long, sweeping shots captures the harsh and unforgiving landscapes, immersing the audience in Glass' journey.
"Roma" (2018) Director of Photography: Alfonso Cuarón Prologue: Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, "Roma" is a semi-autobiographical drama set in 1970s Mexico City. The film follows Cleo, a young domestic worker, as she navigates the societal changes and personal struggles within her own life. Cuarón's meticulous black-and-white cinematography beautifully captures the intimate and emotional moments of Cleo's journey.
"There Will Be Blood" (2007) Director of Photography: Robert Elswit Prologue: This critically acclaimed film, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, explores the rise of an ambitious oil prospector, Daniel Plainview, during the early 20th century. Robert Elswit's cinematography artfully captures the vast landscapes, contrasting light and shadows, and the intense performances of the characters, adding to the film's dramatic impact.
"Gravity" (2013) Director of Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki Prologue: In this thrilling space survival film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, a medical engineer and an astronaut find themselves adrift in space after their shuttle is destroyed. Emmanuel Lubezki's groundbreaking cinematography combines long takes, seamless visual effects, and immersive perspectives to convey the isolation and beauty of space.
"Birdman" (2014) Director of Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki Prologue: Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman" follows Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor, as he attempts to stage a Broadway play. Shot to look like one continuous take, Emmanuel Lubezki's innovative cinematography creates a sense of immediacy and intensity, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.
"The Tree of Life" (2011) Director of Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki Prologue: Terrence Malick's epic drama explores the origins of the universe and the meaning of life through the story of a Texas family in the 1950s. Emmanuel Lubezki's breathtaking cinematography captures the beauty of nature, the cosmos, and intimate family moments, creating a poetic and introspective visual experience.
"Inception" (2010) Director of Photography: Wally Pfister Prologue: Directed by Christopher Nolan, "Inception" is a mind-bending sci-fi thriller that delves into the realm of dreams and the subconscious. Wally Pfister's cinematography skillfully blends practical effects and stunning visuals to create a sense of disorientation and awe. From gravity-defying fight scenes to cityscapes folding upon themselves, the film's cinematography amplifies the intricacies of the dream world.
"Citizen Kane" (1941) Director of Photography: Gregg Toland Prologue: Orson Welles' directorial debut, "Citizen Kane," follows the life of Charles Foster Kane, a newspaper tycoon. Gregg Toland's innovative cinematography techniques, such as deep focus and dramatic lighting, contribute to the film's visual storytelling and help unravel the mystery of Kane's enigmatic life.
"Apocalypse Now" (1979) Director of Photography: Vittorio Storaro Prologue: Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, "Apocalypse Now" takes viewers into the heart of darkness during the Vietnam War. Vittorio Storaro's cinematography captures the intensity and chaos of war, utilizing a range of lighting techniques and surreal visuals to depict the psychological descent of the characters.
These films showcase the incredible talent and artistic vision of their respective directors of photography, who have played a crucial role in shaping the visual storytelling and creating memorable cinematic experiences.
The director of photography who has won the most prizes in history is Roger Deakins. Born on May 24, 1949, in Torquay, Devon, England, Deakins is widely regarded as one of the greatest cinematographers of all time. He has accumulated numerous accolades and awards throughout his illustrious career.
Deakins has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography a staggering 15 times, winning the prestigious honor twice. He received his first Oscar for "Blade Runner 2049" in 2018 and his second for "1917" in 2020. Additionally, he has won four BAFTA Awards for Best Cinematography and has been nominated a remarkable 16 times.
His collaboration with filmmakers, particularly the Coen brothers, has resulted in some of the most visually striking films in recent memory. Deakins has worked on notable projects like "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994), "Fargo" (1996), "No Country for Old Men" (2007), and "Skyfall" (2012). His ability to create evocative atmospheres and his masterful use of lighting and composition have consistently elevated the films he has been a part of.
Beyond the awards and recognition, Deakins' work is characterized by his attention to detail, versatility, and commitment to the art of visual storytelling. He is known for his collaborative approach, working closely with directors to bring their vision to life and enhance the narrative through his cinematography. His work spans various genres, from intense dramas to sweeping epics, each demonstrating his technical prowess and creative flair.
Roger Deakins' impact on the film industry is immeasurable, and his contributions to the craft of cinematography have left an indelible mark. His ability to capture breathtaking imagery and evoke emotional responses through his visuals has solidified his status as a true master of his craft.