Sunday, May 25, 2003
The art of darkness
Saw The Godfather II today on TV. This was probably the hundredth time I�ve seen it, but that�s a movie I�d love watching over and over again. There is this one issue though with broadcast television�s fidelity. This is something akin to a theatre with bad projection or acoustics. On DVD Gordon Willis comes across as a master cinematographer, but on broadcast TV, it looks like just murky and dark camerawork: Great injustice to a craftsman�s work. There is only one other person I know in India who can underexpose with such guts and class and that�s Madhu Ambhat. His work in Mani Ratnam�s Anjali earned him a great deal of respect from the guys who saw his movie in good theatres, but most people (unfortunately a majority of theatres in our country are non-standardised and the projector lamps are too dull) thought that he was just short of lights on the set. Blame the projectors, but Mani Ratnam was branded for shooting in the dark.
There is one thing in adapting to prevailing conditions (most film people use this as an excuse for overacting, loud dialogue, over makeup, flat lighting and gaudily colourful costumes), but there is a whole new thing in getting things to work for you; after all, even if you owe your work to your audience, you at least have to show some courtesy for the medium and the art and do them some justice.
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