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HomeAwardsAward Contender-Emmanuel Lubezki-The New World

Award Contender-Emmanuel Lubezki-The New World


“Coverage is the death of cinema.”It’s a rather bold statement, especially for a cinematographer. But there’s no doubt that Emmanuel Lubezki, whose credits include Like Water for Chocolate, Sleepy Hollow, Ali, Y tu mama tambien and the current The New World, isn’t being cavalier or combative.“It’s all a part of the fear that is gripping the industry,” says Lubezki. “Movies have become a very expensive industry, and the pressure at the top filters down to the production. Directors tremble that they don’t have that important shot but it reaches into every area of the film. Why should anyone expect that anything good could come out of such an environment? When everything becomes incredibly controlled you lose a great deal. You lose the possibility of the happy accidents that make great movies.”It’s perhaps ironic that the acclaimed cameraman is delving into the dark side having just completed what he considers his most challenging and satisfying professional experience. He cannot say enough about the freedom he was extended by director Terence Malick on The New World. He still reels as he recalls Malick’s fearlessness and appetite to try the unconventional and innovative.Lubezki had initially been hired to shoot a project Malick was to make on Che Guevara. The intent was to film in a documentary style using only natural light and existing locations. However, while the filmmaker opted to switch to the saga of the 17th Jamestown colony and the natives of the region, he decided to retain the shooting gestalt.“In film school you’re given the impression that the easiest thing to do is exteriors,” notes Lubezki. “It’s simply not true. The light is constantly changing and it’s very difficult to accommodate for temperature from shot to shot. Terry decided to be blown by the wind. He would shoot things in the fort and keep the crew outside so you had the possibility of moving in any direction. We shot almost everything with a single camera but our second camera was always loaded and we almost literally were shooting constantly. It was very, very liberating.”He adds that the film has no overriding visual references other than to eschew constructs from other mediums. It had to be something without the trappings of theater and initial discussions included filming in 65mm. And while the approach fostered realism, the anemographic frame and the filmmaker’s unique perspective was always going to result in a very stylized production.

Written by Len Klady

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