Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

I don't usually write about films, but after watching, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford", I had to recommend it - especially to those readers who may be into photography. It is a slow moving film, but the cinematography by Roger Deakins is spectacular and kept my interest the entire length of the film. I don't mean to imply that this film is only good because of its cinematography - the movie is quite good for multiple reasons. That said, this was one of the best filmed movies I've seen in a long time. Every shot in the film is exceptionally composed. I can't say enough about how captivating the photography/cinematography is in "Jesse James..." In several scenes, Deakins creates a vignette that references the photography from that time period. The cinematographer Roger Deakins will often holds on stationary objects (a shoe, a cluster of trees, a empty road) - these visual pauses add to the sense of place though I could see them being a test of patience for some viewers. Personally I love it when films incorporate non-moving images. Maybe it has something to do with my fascination with Warhol's 1964 film "Empire" in which he films the Empire State Building for six and a half hours.

The scene in the photo above is especially dramatic when the train comes around a bend and its light streams through the trees. On the subject of trains in film - I would also recommend a extensive collection of film stills with trains in them from the art of memory blog. And another gem I found from the art of memory is Sharon Harper's photos taken from trains.

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