The films of the great DP Gordon "Prince of Darkness" Willis and director Terrance Malick are among this baker's dozen list of cinema's most influential contributions. Did your favorite movie make the cut?
The best compliment we can give these movies is that we wish we made them.
Movies like Frances Ford Coppola's The Godfather, Part II and Terrance Malick's perfect Days of Heaven earned their deserved places on the New York Film Festival's list of 13 films honoring the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers, reports IndieWire.
New York Film Festival programmers Kent Jones and Dan Sullivan are celebrating the milestone with a 13-film retrospective, as the 2019 festival sets out to highlight the works of legendary DPs as Gordon Willis, Gregg Toland, James Wong Howe, and Robby Müller. The movies serve as a history exhibit as well, honoring the craft at 24 fps.
“We couldn’t do a comprehensive history of the ASC as a film series, and once we accepted that, it freed us to make some more interesting choices,” said Sullivan. “There’s some canonical titles, personal favorites, and weird things people might not necessarily think about in this context and might appreciate differently. But I would say roughly we were trying to capture the trajectory of the development of cinematography in the United States over the passed 100 years. And I think if you were to see every film in the series, in order, the movement from ‘Street Angel’ to Ellen Kuras’ work in ‘Block Party,’ I think the viewer would really be struck by how the medium has changed over the last 100 years.”
Yup, Dave Chapelle's Block Party made the cut. But why select this underrated concert film from 2005?
“We wanted the lineup to reflect the shift in documentary filmmaking and how important that’s been in American film history,” said Sullivan. “This film is an impressive feat. The event comprises a bulk of the film, and you can see how tough it was to film. Kuras breaks the space of the event from so many different angles and makes it look easy.”
In addition to Godfather, Part II, Party, and Heaven, other films being screened include Leave Her to Heaven (1945), Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), and The Grapes of Wrath (1940).
While these 13 films may not be everyone's favorite, there is no denying that each serve as essential building blogs to furthering cinematography and our appreciation and application of it. If you are able to see these films on the big screen in NYC, please check them out.