Great Moments in Cinematography III

Good morrow everyone,

today we’ll see a little bit of what Janusz Kaminski is capable of. This man, is an enigma if there was ever one in the world of cinematography. His career with Steven Spielberg is an amazing collection of visual masterpieces but, having worked on The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and a few other visually consistent films (The adventures of Huck Finn, Jerry Maguire and How to Make an American Quilt), you can see from his work that there is something more to his eye than just what Mr. Spielberg concocts for his “paintings”.
As an example of the mastery undertaken by Kaminski, I chose the “Invasion of Omaha Beach Scene” right at the beginning of the World War 2 epic by Spielberg.
It is true that such scenes as the girl in the red dress from Schindler’s List or the brilliantly photographed boat scenes in Amistad are by themselves, great single examples of Kaminski’s work but, it is thru this scene (in detail – the first 10 minutes of it), that you see the experimentation, control and power of what can be done with a camera to showcase war as viscerally and has destructively as it is possible to present.
This scene is the standard by which every war movie filmed after it has been evaluated. It has set a pattern for what has come after it, and taken the viewer to never before seen “first person interactions” to what a battlefield looks like.
Technically it ranges from handheld, crane shots, quick pans, steady shots, frame skips, frame over and under-cranking, image dirtying, image cleaning, fake blood, digital blood, very little is left out in this 10 minutes.
For those weak of heart (or stomach) be warned.

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2 thoughts on “Great Moments in Cinematography III

  1. actually, for me the Peleliu sequences in The Pacific were even stronger. but yes of course they woudnt exist without Kaminski/Spielberg pushing that bar 11 years earlier

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