[watch] In the Mood for Greatness: Understanding the Cinematography of Christopher Doyle

By  · Published on July 13th, 2016

If there’s such a thing as a rock star in the world of cinematography, that rock star is Christopher Doyle. Not because he’s the most famous or revels in celebrity status, but because he’s a cinematographer unfettered by rules, a free spirit who obeys his own muse more than standards and practices, and a man whose enthusiasm for film transcends “child-like” into a greater realm of pure appreciation. Christopher Doyle lives film, and his work illustrates this joyous affection for the medium.

Doyle has shot eight films for Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai, including IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and 2046, as well as HERO for Yimou Zhang. If those were the only three films Doyle ever worked on, he’d still have a place in the pantheon of great cinematographers, but those are only three of the 70+ films he’s shot. Others include Barry Levinson’s LIBERY HEIGHTS, Jon Favreau’s MADE, M. Night Shyamalan’s LADY IN THE WATER, Jim Jarmusch’s THE LIMITS OF CONTROL, and Gus Van Sant’s PSYCHO – which he shot, unbelievably, without ever having seen Hitchcock’s original; this is especially impressive when you remember that the film is a shot-by-shot remake of the original.

In another stellar video from Sareesh Sudhakaran and wolfcrow the cinematographical techniques of Doyle are explored in depth, and I gotta tell you, some of his moves are out of left field and fascinatingly innovative. Doyle might not be the best-know cinematographer in the world, but that’s on you, not him, because the work he’s contributed to the medium more than speaks for itself, which is precisely the point of good cinematography: letting the images speak.

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