2nd Opinion Podcast cast crew is back, but today we're here to talk about our lives!
Sofia Coppola now represents just the second woman of seventy Cannes Best Director Award winners. The Beguiled, her prize winner, is an immaculate exercise in aesthetic restraint. All facets of its design are an echo of the screams curdling beneath a relentless Southern gentility.
Critical to this masterfully controlled technique is Coppola’s Oscar-nominated cinematographer Philippe Le Sourd AFC. Philippe and I discuss the film’s use of perspective, his unique low-contrast take to visualizing oppression, and camera movement's potential to disrupt the emotion of a scene.
The Alexa SXT-W’s (W for Wireless) primary addition to the already exceptional Arri SXT platform, is the addition of a built-in three-radio system that works harmoniously to avoid the usual interference. A built in, low-latency, 10 bit, HDR video transmitter, WiFi, and ECS (Arri’s Camera+Lens Control system) comprise the three and hopes to improve upon the SXT’s ergonomics by reducing the need for external cabling and video transmitters.
I interviewed Sean Porter for the first time early last year about his work on Jeremy Saulnier's slasher/thriller Green Room. The second time around was a bit brighter, a beach-side domestic dramedy: Mike Mill’s coming of age epic 20th Century Women. And here we are at interview three with his most expensive film, the Sony funded studio comedy Rough Night starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate Mckinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer and which was directed by Broad City’s Lucia Aniello & cowritten by Paul W. Downs. In the gamut of the three, I’ve no clue where to place it.
On a technical, on-set structure spectrum I’ve got a better idea. Rough Night moved the fastest. Sean opens up about his first experience on a big budget studio film, how he managed to light at a breakneck multi-camera TV-style pace with bare minimum prep, and the perks of industry veteran reinforcements. Outside the indie/studio comparisons, we talk form: how to photograph a comedy, and how the 2.39 Aspect Ratio can elevate the genre.
Get Out, a genre sleeper hit rightfully boasted as having spawned "From the mind of Jordan Peele’" has seized online review aggregators & the box office as its own. Making back ($33.4m), already, nearly 6 times its budget ($4.5m) in its debuting weekend, Get Out looks to grow in the comings weeks and has, as of March 3rd amassed a $57.8 million gross revenue. Careers have been secured.
Sean Porter photographed two of my favorite films of 2016. Released first was Green Room, a brutal siege horror exercise which we talked about earlier in the year, and the other is 20th Century Women, which, during comparison, Sean describes as “a coming of age, sun-drenched, family dramedy”. They could not be more different. Although, in terms of his approach to exposure, are surprisingly similar. Sean deflates the conceptual stigma surrounding a fluid, less controlled set (and their practical limitations) and brings to light their ability to let intuition breathe.
The Love Witch has promptly become requisite sustenance for cinephiles. As the obligatory end of the year lists come churning out, you’d be damned if you didn’t catch The Love Witch on most of them. It’s made the Best of 2016 lists of the New Yorker, Timeout, L.A Weekly, Sheila O’Malley (of rogerebert.com), Rottentomatoes 100 Best Horror Films of All Time, The Rolling Stones Best Horror Films of 2016, The Thrillist’s sexiest movies of 2016, Filmschoolrejects Best movie Fashion/Best Movies of 2016, and Business Insider’s 24 Best Movies you probably haven’t seen this year, etc…. etc...
The Love Witch looks like film’s just aren’t able to anymore. It’s a glammed up homage to its Vistavision/Technicolor idols -- its flawless aesthetic is pivotal and helps ascend the label of a love letter. I talked with, and learned much, from its veteran cinematographer M. David Mullen ASC on The Love Witch’s production.
Sean Porter, of the indie darlings Kumiko The Treasure Hunter, Eden, It Felt Like Love, and I go in depth on the technical and conceptual aspects of his latest hit Green Room’s cinematography. We discuss small details like T-Stops and Focal lengths, and broader intentions like visual arcs brought on literally, not just metaphorically, by the script.
Porter began his career in the midst of the digital revolution which allowed him to shoot on 35mm and 16 while toying with digital from the advent.
Film Vs. Digital, the ongoing battle where none should exist. I can admit to being a man of the celluloid, the tangible format with a life and texture. But I can also get weak for digitals sharp sickly edge. For film it's not so much a competition as it is an individual struggle to survive. Film stock grows scarce and processing labs scarcer. For most new filmmakers films not even an option, nor something they're particularly aware of. Digital suits the time, it's immediate, fast, and frighteningly easy. So this cheap and easier method allows more beginners to make movies that they might not have been able to. But is that necessarily a good thing?