Kubrick. 2001. The scene where Hal reads the crew’s lips. Spectacular framing, also when Bowman disconnects Hal. Intent is magical.
Recently, Children of Men. It killed me when the infamous scenes of prolonged takes played for story, and the camera was at the right place at the right time, at the right element for a masterpiece.
Also, I would have to agree with Mr E 2 Me: Irreversible is spectacular from a camerawork point of view, and not just because of prolonged takes. The camera in that film is a spectator, never being intrusive while letting the story unfold…while small gaps of thematic focus reinforce the motif. The fire extinguisher scene needs mention. Digital zooms.
So would it be unjust that Children of men lost out the cinematography Oscar to Pan’s Labyrinth? interesting to discuss…
Go back to Murnau’s “unchained camera” in “The Last Laugh,” a silent masterpiece in which the whole story is told through acting and camerawork. Great new edition from KINO. Karl Freund (Metropolis, etc) was the cameraman.
I would have to say the camera work in Hour of the wolf. I LOVE when the camera pushes in on the two coffee cup’s at the begining of hard eight.
if we’re talking recently, for me, it’s a toss up between City of God and Children of Men.
Alanedit stole my response. Kubrick was indeed a master of framing. How about Rear Window, where the camera represents the eyes of the main character for most of the film. Every single shot, pan, zoom, is critical to the telling of the story and puts you in his head.
De Palma’s Scarface
When the Chainsaw sequence starts and we get the crane that goes from the window to the car and back again.
De Palma’s The Untouchables
The Train Station sequence which Brian shot on the fly. He just made it up as he went. Genius.
Children of Men
Finally a hand held shot film that doesn’t feel contrived or unmotivated.
Janusz and Steven reinvent and create a a standard of expectation on how to shoot combat scenes. And the best part ? You never get lost in the action. You know exactly where you are at all times.
Ingmar Bergman’s Shame: When Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullman are walking through the trees as the camera moves along with them from the side.
Andrie Tarkovsky’s Ivans Chilhood: in the begining when flares fall through a forest swamp and the light filters through the trees. anything directed by tarkovsky is beautifully shot.
There have been a few times after watching a film when I’ve felt that the camerawork was the best part of the film. One of those times was after I watched Bergman’s “The Silence” for the first time. Sven Nykvist was brilliant. The young boy walking through the halls of the hotel…amazing.
Kubrick, Ophuls, Scorcese, P.T. Anderson, the masters of camera movement (P.T. is probably more of a protege)
In terms of using camera moving to reinforce story-telling aspects, those directors above did those things, but I think Ozu and Kurosawa were the most effective at using camera movement in that sense.
Obviously, the camera plays a huge role in Kurosawa’s Rashomon, showing us each character’s interpretation of the pivotal events in the story.
Most recently Children of Men really stretches the boundaries of A. The long take and B. the Long track shot. Both utilizied beautifully in this amazing and touching film.
I just recently watched Children of Men for the first time and that long tracking shot (was it all in one take? It looked like it.) at the end when they’re carrying the baby out of the building, walking through all the soldiers and rebels in near silence, was just incredible
Thinking more about this, I also liked Bunuel’s “Viridiana”. Movement is so precise and appropriate.
Also, how I could forget Ozu. He is almost in class by himself.
About children of men i think its in three different set ups. And yes it is truly an amazing sequence when they walk out and you have that moment of silence and then how it just starts all over again. Beautiful i was in tears thru that whole sequence, truly stunning work on everyone’s end. The special effects, the extras, the camera man all working in complete unison!
Yeah, the tracking shots in Children of Men definitely reinforce the sense of reality in that film. You feel like a complete observer in that film.
Ikiru by Kurosawa and Tokyo Story by Ozu are great examples of how composition and visual aesthetic complement the storytelling and how camera movement affects how you psychologically react to what you’re watching (sub-consciously).
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days has superb camera work, tracking shots and long takes. The realism created completely immerses the film into a sense of true reality. And a very good film to boot.
Noe’s use of the camera in Irreversible has to be mentioned here, too. The initial sequence of the descent into the sex club alone is incredible, let alone the way he makes it seem as though each segment drifts and floats into the next, giving the events a sense of inevitability, even though they are shown in reverse.
(EDIT: My bad, I didn’t even notice that this was brought up in the original post! Was that always there? Sorry, Alanedit!)
Many examples comes to my mind, but lately I saw some good:
1. “Madame de…”, by Ophüls. Extraordinary camerawork to explain feelings and manners in a time of hipocresy.
2. “Le Plaisir”, by Ophüls. The first story is wonderful and the camera does a brilliant work during the dance scene. And in the last story, the moment of the suicide is unforgettable.
3. “The Age of Innocence”, by Scorsese. Newland Archer (Daniel Day Lewis) enters to the big party. Wowww!!!
4. “Meet Me in St. Louis”, by Minnelli. Judy Garland with the candles, after the party.
5. “A Passage to India” and “Madeleine”, both by David Lean. Judy Davis or Ann Todd at the court of justice.
6. “Queen Christina”, by Rouben Mamoulian. Garbo and John Gilbert looking at each other after doing love in the cottage. Superb!
7. “Love Me Tonight”, by Mamoulian. The musical beginning.
Recently The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Camera work was excellent.
there’s a ridiculous long take in Steve McQueen’s Hunger.
Too many great moments in cinema to have even ten listed—but I have to mention SECONDS (John Frankenheimer). Ultimate cinematography for the mood by master James Wong Howe—Requiem for a Dream would have been lost if it weren’t for the blueprint Wong Howe put down with the fisheye and body harness………..
Polanski is brilliant at using the camera to make the viewer as uneasy and claustrophobic as his subjects in films like Repulsion, The Tenant and Rosemary’s Baby.
Perhaps not the best (forgive me, it is late!), but a tracking shot that comes to mind is Godard’s traffic jam in Week End. It’s the most obtuse and irritating shot that seems to last forever. I feel like it works so well with Godard’s intent. Coupled with the blaring car horns, it really is one of the most effective uses of camera, color, and sound I’ve witnessed.
Agreeing with everyone else here, I too was impressed with Children Of Men, especially that road ambush.
Marko mentioned Ozu, something I always must do. His lack of camera movement is one of my favourite things.
There is a scene in The Hidden Fortress which is great too. We see the two peasants cowering but we don’t see from what. Then we see a bloodied samurai stumble into the frame. I love that shot. Kurosawa always had really great camera work.
I always loved how Dziga Vertov moved the camera around in THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA, considering how unwieldy those silent camera’s must have been. Some of the German expressionists of the 20s also worked wonders with the camera.
And how about RUSSIAN ARK by Sokurov? Sure the movie wasn’t great, but one complete 90 minute take is awfully impressive, isn’t it!
Tarkovsky, of course, was a master of the long take. Sculpted time was what he called it. The long walk across the baths in NOSTALGHIA by the main character, Andrei Gorchakov, is enough to make you nearly hold your breath for the entire 8 or 9 minutes.
I agree that all of Hitchcock’s movies are great camera-wise. And I remembered the the scene from Rope where people of the party are discussing something but the camera is all the time focused on the chest with the dead body. The maid of the house is taking the food off the chest to be able to put the returned books back in there. And only the two criminals and the viewers know that the body is in there. Intense suspense!
I just saw Tarkovsky’s “Stalker.” I don’t speak Russian and there were no subtitles, but I was mesmerized. Just breathtaking camera work. Even more beautiful than Solaris.
Everything by Bela Tarr.
I think I would have to second David Lee’s choice: Children of Men. Not only for the long tracking shot but the way in which the camera was used to tell the story and to ground a futuristic film in reality by limiting cuts and extending shots. Absolutely amazing!
Another great choice would be The Third Man. A great b & w film with such a camera style that one cannot deny.
Wong Kar Wai’s ’Fallen Angels". A kind of bizarre humor and self-pitiness lies in the crazy camerawork by Chris Doyle
The camera work in “I Am Cuba” is absolutely phenomenal, the use of long takes, and every trick in the book: hand held camera, crane, underwater, tracking and wire work is insane and leaves you in awe!
Also many of Abel Gance’s films are works of art that still seem totally innovative today, his films are technically liberated and contain almost every camera innovation in cinema – The hand held work in the snow fight and sledge scene, the mounted camera on the horse to convey point of view during chase sequence and the insane swinging pendulum shot in “Napoléon” are incredible … the mounted tracking shots on the train in “La Roue” are breathtaking as well as his use of extreme wide shots and close-ups, focus and subjective (point of view) shots are quite revolutionary.