Visions Of Light: The Art Of Cinematography

A visit with many of the best cinematographers in Hollywood, including Nestor Almendros, Gordon Willis, Haskell Wexler, Vittorio Storaro, and Sven Nykvist (who also discuss some of their predecessors, e.g. Billy Bitzer and Gregg Toland). Directors Arnold Glassman, Todd McCarthy, and Stuart Samuels come up with clips from the best prints available to illustrate their comments. It’s a pity they’ve basically restricted their inquiry to the U.S. industry; the American Film Institute, which coproduced the movie, pretty much limits its efforts to preserving and promoting domestic interests, unlike its counterparts elsewhere in the world. (The many non-American cinematographers almost exclusively discuss their American work.) But the uncommon virtue of this 1992 documentary is that it teaches us a great deal about things we think we already know. Why, for instance, was the lighting so low in the Godfather films? You might be surprised to find out. 92 min. (JR)

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