'The Harder They Fall' and 'The Master' DP on Creating a Modern Western Look

The Harder They Fall - Netflix
Mihai Malaimare Jr. talks film vs. digital, how to make the Western new, and how shooting stills helps his process.

Is there anything more cinematic than the Western? It's not only a staple of American cinema and culture, but it's also informed by and a heavy influence on some of the great international work ranging from Kurosawa to Leone. 

You'd think no stones were left unturned. But you'd be wrong. 

The Harder They Fall is a brand new look at the Western, focusing on Black characters, spinning off actual historical figures like the legendary Bass Reeves, among others. You've never seen this side of Western history, and you've never seen a Western told in quite this manner. 

Mihai told me about how he worked with Jeymes Samuel to create this look, what challenges it posed, and how they met some head-on, fearlessly, resulting in a few sequences that truly stand out. 

I've been a huge fan and student of the genre, and it's fascinating to watch how the familiar tropes and characters are blended and twisted into something new, and unique. There are deeper layers to The Harder They Fall, as it touches on issues of conflict within marginalized demographics, fatherhood, and legacy. Like any good Western, there are obvious parallels to the time the film was made. 

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This episode of The No Film School Podcast was produced by George Edelman.

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