Oscar History

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Entries in Cinematography (262)


Thelma & Louise, Pt 2: The Venetian Blindside

25th Anniversary Five-Part Mini Series Event 

When we left our heroines in Pt 1 of our 25th anniversary lookback at Thelma & Louise, they were fleeing the scene of their (first) crime but Louise needed a cup of coffee and to collect herself. Anne Marie & Margaret, our own superheroine duo in Los Angeles were grappling with the surprise killing of a would be rapist. Was it rage and pride that motivated Louise to shoot after she had already saved Thelma? It certainly provoked audiences but was there any other way to play the film's themes?

Louise is trying to plot their next move when we return to them, just before they jump back in their '66 Thunderbird - Editor

Pt 2 by Nick Davis

Now's not the time to panic. If we panic now, we're done for."

24:50 You could say this is the moment where Thelma and Louise shifts from a movie about two women fleeing some problems, at least temporarily, to two women solving a problem, probably permanently. Sure, I'll run to any movie where two women let their hair down, but I will fucking jet-propel myself to any movie where two or more women join forces to think their way out of a fix.  Well, not Mad Money.  And not The Boss.  Okay, there are exceptions.  But Thelma & Louise is the glorious rule, and this is where the drama of deduction, cognition, mutual examination, and deep self-reflection really kicks into fifth gear.

I should mention that I saw this film in the theater at 14.  Sheltered and naive about sex and violence, I didn't completely understand what rape was--which is to say, I think I learned it here.  I had never had a drink, much less been drunk, or even seen a margarita.  Ironically, the post-shooting moment when Thelma and Louise start spiraling into unknown territory was  when I started to connect with their world and feel common ground with the heroines.  I didn't know from waitressing jobs, fishing trips, honky tonks, convertibles, freeways, mesas, relationship troubles, shitty husbands, hitchhikers, horny moods, pistols, or structural misogyny, but I absolutely related to relying on wits to think your way out of a problem, and disclosing aspects of yourself in how you did so, and concealing parts of yourself at the same time.

Click to read more ...


Best Shot: Queen Margot (1994)

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Queen Margot (1994)
Director: Patrice Chereau. Cinematography: Phillipe Rousselot. 
Starring: Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Vincent Perez, Jean-Hugues Anglade, and Virna Lisi 
Awards: 2 Cannes jury prizes, 5 César Awards, 1 Oscar nomination.

They say that death always takes your lovers..."

When I was young and extremely sexually naive, let's say hypothetically in High School French class, I was startled to discover that the French phrase "La petite mort," which translates literally to 'the little death' referred to a sexual orgasm. I had no idea why these two towers of Human Obsession, Sex and Death, would be linked up like twins. But the movies, ever the personal tutor for young cinephiles, kept forcing the connections.

Which brings us to the decadent, opulent, erotic, violent and visceral 16th century French epic Queen Margot, this week's Best Shot subject. (The shot choices are after the jump due to the graphic nature of the film...)

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"Best Shot" Schedule for May

'Here's what's coming up the rest of this month on Best Shot if you'd like to join us. It's easy. You...

1) watch the movie
2) pick a shot, post it and say why you love it
3) let us know you did via twitter, email or comments and we link up 

May 24th Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
We pushed this back a month since it wasn't yet available to rent but it's time to revisit future jedi Rey as she takes on the patriarchy the resurgent Empire and evil Emo brat Kylo Ren with her newfound gifts (and swooning sidekicks Poe & Finn.)

May 31st Dietrich Double!
Morocco (1930) and/or Blonde Venus (1932) 

The Film Experience obviously loves Old Hollywood sirens so why have we given Dietrich so little attention? Let's rectify that weird gap and close our "Girls Gone Wild" month (yup, that's the theme for May) with either or both (your choice if playing) of these Von Sternberg classics as Marlene Dietrich breaks through from singing foreign curiousity to Hollywood superstar by way of androgynous seduction and chain smoking.


Top Ten: Sexiest Things in "A Bigger Splash"

In lieu of a full review for Luca Guadagnino's I Am Love follow up A Bigger Splash -- who can type with one hand -a hot and bothered top ten list.


10. Reflective Sunglasses.
The great cinematographer Yorick Le Saux (look up his filmography. Seriously) makes full use of the reflections in everyone's glasses. We're staring at them, but what are they staring at in this voyeuristic vacation?

09. Tilda Whispering to Matthias
As the movie begins world famous rockstar Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is on vocal rest, doctor's orders. Her visiting friend/ex lover Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and a daughter he didn't know he had until recently (Dakota Johnson) arrive in town unexpectedly and they're told she can't speak. It's not strictly true. Marianne reserves her whispering, which she's allowed, for her younger filmmaker boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts). Secretive conspiratorial intimacy is a panty-dropper.

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She's 'Mad' as 'Hel' and She's Not Going to Streep It Anymore

If you missed the Best Shot roundup for Death Becomes Her, click here.

For my part this week I've opted to unearth and spruce up an old essay from the vaults about this great 90s comedy. The article is illustrated with my 12 favorite shots from the movies. Yes, I choose a "best" but it was a close call.  If you joined us in the past six years it's new to you. And if you are too young to have lived through Meryl Streep's career transition in the early 90s and Goldie Hawn's status as a hot box office comedy, I think you'll find it particularly interesting.

Let's begin after the jump...

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Visual Index: Death Becomes Her's Best Shot(s)

This is as good a time as any to tell you that May is "Girls Gone Wild" month at The Film Experience. You know we love a good theme week/month at the site! And with Thelma & Louise and Madonna's Truth or Dare both celebrating 25th anniversaries this very month, it was the only conceivable plus awesome theme to build the blogging around. So we'll be celebrating reckless divas, fierce warriors, psychotic beauties, and blonde venuses all month long. Well that and Cannes hoopla of course.

And we'll start Girls Gone Wild right now with actress Madeline Ashton (Meryl Streep) and her frenemy author Helen Sharp (Goldie Hawn) who drink a seductive potion to appease their vanity with spectacular Oscar-winning results. My choice for Best Shot will be up tomorrow as I'm running behind -- when I love a movie too much it takes me so much longer! -- so I'll keep updating this gallery if you're also running late. 

Director: Robert Zemeckis; Cinematographer: Dean Cundey
Click on any of the 14 shots to read its accompanying article

Click to read more ...


Throne of Blood's Best Shots - A Visual Index

After realizing that we'd never featured an Akira Kurosawa on Hit Me With Your Best Shot, we obviously had to. Ran (1985) was tempting but it gets a lot of attention already. So we opted to watch his other Shakespeare inspired masterpiece, Throne of Blood (1957) which is still the best Macbeth movie even if its more Macbeth-inspired than traditionally adapted.

If you've never seen it, give it a shot. It's gorgeous and haunting and unlike most Shakespeare films grippingly compact at only 110 minutes.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot(s)
Throne of Blood (1957)

Director: Akira Kurosawa; Cinematographer: Asakazu Nakai 
Click on any of the 11 images to be taken to its accompanying article

Throne of Blood teaches us how to watch it. 
-Antagony & Ecstasy

The minute we see Isuzu Yamada as Lady Asaji in this cold spare room, we know exactly where things will go...
-Scopophiliac at the Cinema 

One of my favorite ideas in these Japanese stories is that the living and dead (or the supernatural) could live together, without a hereafter.
-Cal Roth

What Shakespeare does with language, Kurosawa and Noh do with movement.
-Dancin Dan on Film 

Kurosawa injects into the tragedy of Macbeth an incredible sensorial expressiveness of poetic dimensions by placing it in mystic version of feudal japan.
-Magnificent Obsession 

Fujimaki's own splatter-painting.
-The Film Experience

The staging of the two actors is just brilliant...
-Zev Burrows 

The camera becomes like a piece of stagecraft
-Film Mix Tape

the vast space and the wealth that implies, as well as the ample room for Washizu and his wife to contemplate their guilt
-Film Actually

The movie builds with precision, early shots foreshadowing what is to come

My favorite scene in Macbeth and they do it very well here
-Rachel Wagner


The End.

NEXT TUESDAY NIGHT WARNING: "NOW a warning?" It's Death Becomes Her (1992), rereleased in a collectors edition. Please join us for what will surely be a fun group of screengrabs

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