Visions of Light
Time Out saysSubtitled 'The Art of Cinematography', this American Film Institute documentary turns the camera back on the people (mostly men) behind the lens: the directors of photography. As this intelligently structured interview-based film implicitly recognises, the history of cinematography is also an alternative history of cinema itself. Hence, we start with the silent era and the innovations of Billy Bitzer, DW Griffith's cameraman, and move on to the glamorous monochrome photography of the '30s, Gregg Toland's contribution to Citizen Kane and the 'primal imagery' of film noir. The documentary really comes into its own, however, when the interviewees - Allen Daviau (E.T.), Gordon Willis (The Godfather), Nestor Almendros (Days of Heaven), Michael Chapman (Raging Bull) and many others - reminisce about their own experience: the switch from the 'more abstract' b/w to colour, the anamorphic space, and, most intriguingly, the way in which new technology subtly redefines the texture of the movies.