A cinematographers are responsible for the technical and artistic stylings of a film or any moving imagery.
Gordon Willis is a well renowned cinematographer most renowned for his work during Francis Ford Coppela’s Godfather trilogy.
His use of yellow in the trilogy set the tone on how nearly all films set in this era were shot. The bronze look help show how drab the era was. He also never seemed to use the lighting to show the Godfather’s eyes. This was to add mystery to his character which at the time got very mixed reviews.
His work in the Godfather made him world renowned and the trilogy itself is considered some the best around. The Godfather has since become the I Ching of all movies and its cinematography definitely adds to its charm in how its used to describe the Godfather himself and the setting of an era.
Keeping on the theme of ‘Gangster’ films, Goodfellas is another great film. Michael Ballhaus was the cinematographer for this film and was nominated for it at the 1990 Academy Awards.
One of my favourite scenes is the one where Karen and Henry go to the Copacobana. It’s a single shot which lasts around two minutes. In it there is so many different types of lighting. Something which must have taken so much preparation which was executed perfectly shows how lighting can change in the same shot and still have the same effect than if it was a different shot. The use of red filters in the restaurant itself adds to the tone of the restaurant and the kitchen is lit and white lights are used to show the whole kitchen so you ca see everything thats going on and it also makes you look with a little look by the cameraman on the kitchen and not the subjects.
Both these cinematographers capture the tone of each film very well and without them perhaps the films wouldn’t have the same awe about them if they were done in a different style. The use of close ups in Goodfellas to show facial expression and the darkness of faces in Godfather sets them apart from each other but both are amazing films.