DE PALMA'S 3RD STRAIGHT COLLAB w/LENSER, FOLLOWING 'PASSION' & 'DOMINO'
José Luis Alcaine, currently shooting Pedro Almodóvar's latest film, Pain & Glory, will be the cinematographer on Brian De Palma's Sweet Vengeance, a U.S-set thriller that will shoot in Uruguay for about ten weeks beginning this November. This will be the third straight De Palma film to be shot by Alcaine, following Passion and the yet-to-be-released Domino. Alcaine mentioned the new project at the Cannes Film Festival this past May during an interview with Manu Yáñez Murillo for the current July/August 2018 issue of Film Comment. Alcaine states he will shoot the film with De Palma in October, but the project has since been announced with a November start date.
HOW DIGITAL HAS CHANGED THE WAY DIRECTORS WORK
In the interview, Alcaine mentions Sweet Vengeance while discussing how digital technology has changed his work:
Most of all, the digital revolution has changed the way that directors work. There's a famous memo in which David O. Selznick warned King Vidor not to do more than five takes of each shot while filming Duel in the Sun. Today, thanks to the low cost of digital technology, one can shoot countless takes, and with several cameras! Many movies are shot with three, four, or even eight cameras. That destroys any notion of the director's point of view. There are still directors who shoot with only one camera, such as Asghar, Pedro, or Brian De Palma, with whom I'll shoot Sweet Vengeance in October. But there are directors who have no idea what they're going to edit while they're shooting. They use three or four cameras and the end result looks like a television broadcast.
"TOO MANY MOVIES NOW ARE LIKE BABY FOOD"
Alcaine was at Cannes for the premiere of Asghar Farhadi's Everybody Knows, and Yáñez Murillo begins the interview by asking Alcaine how he contributed to Farhadi's vision in the film:
Rather than national identity, I was focused on doing justice to the narrative complexity and the choral structure of the film through the image, something that is not very common in contemporary cinema. Many film directors today come from the advertising or television worlds, and when they shoot, they're thinking in small screen terms. They tend to employ open diaphragms that drive the viewer's attention toward one character, leaving everything else out of focus. The resulting image can be very beautiful, with an impressionistic touch, but for me that means stealing something from the viewer. Cinema ahould invite the audience to embark on an active experience, but too many movies now are like baby food, where everything's ground up, simplified, so the viewer can consume it and forget it easily. In Everybody Knows, there are many shots of an entire family sitting at a table or at a party, with all the characters in focus, so the viewer can choose who and what subplot to focus on.
You seem to advocate for a cinema open to the ambiguous nature of reality.
There's a great book that was written 50 years ago, Hitchcock/Truffaut, which is wonderful but had a side effect. At one point, Hitchcock claims that, at the beginning of every shoot, he has the entire movie already visualized in his head. In my opinion, that presupposes that the movie has no life of its own. When dealing with emotions, some movies, like Everybody Knows, find their form along the way thanks to the collaboration between the director, the actors, the DP, and the rest of the crew. That's the life of a film.
Alcaine: "Digital brings me closer to painting"
Alcaine focuses on the life of each movie