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Sets and cinematography

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The important role of cinematography in cinema
Raoul Coutard Film-maker
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Moreover, there's also something that happens when taking a photo, in general the photo is on its own or it's part of an exhibition where there are many- but that are not necessarily all the same, but that have their integrity. Meaning that when we look at them, every photo can be looked at for as long as we like. We can spend several minutes looking at it. When we are in a cinema, I mean, every photo as a before and an after, we cannot control how long it stays on the screen. So that system means that the photo has to have a certain quality, so that it can be determined straight away why it has been done in that way. Meaning that if for example it's the morning, the light must be horizontal for example, or since there isn't much surrounding light, all the shadows are very dark, etc., you need to convey that spirit, without it taking up too much space in the way we are going to create it. Because in addition the cinematography, as opposed to photography, photography expresses itself on its own, the cinematography is in competition, with the actors, the text, the music and with the short time it stays on the screen. It really needs to be a support.
D'autre part, il y a une chose aussi qui se passe c'est que quand on fait une photo, en général la photo est toute seule ou c'est une exposition où il y en a plusieurs, mais qui ne sont pas forcément les mêmes, mais qui ont leur intégrité. C'est-à-dire que quand on la regarde, chaque photo peut être regardée le temps que l'on veut. On peut passer plusieurs minutes à la regarder. Quand on est dans un cinéma, je veux dire, chaque photo a un avant et un après, on n'est pas maître du temps qu'elle reste à l'écran. Donc ce système-là fait que la photo, elle doit avoir une certaine qualité qui permette de définir tout de suite pourquoi elle a été faite. C'est-à-dire que si par exemple c'est le matin, la lumière doit être horizontale par exemple, ou comme y'a pas encore beaucoup de lumière ambiante, toutes les ombres sont très sombres, etc., il faut arriver à rendre cet esprit-là, sans trop prendre de place dans la façon dont on va la fabriquer. Parce qu'en plus la photo de cinéma, contrairement à la photographie, la photographie elle est toute seule pour s'exprimer, la photo de cinéma, je veux dire elle est en concurrence, et avec les comédiens, le texte, la musique et le peu de temps qu'elle reste à l'image. Elle doit être vraiment un support.

French cinematographer, Raoul Coutard (1924-2016) was twice nominated for the César Award for best cinematography which he won in 1978 for 'Le Crabe-tambour'. He made over 75 films and documentaries, including 'À Bout de Souffle', Le Mépris' and 'Band à Part'. He was the most acclaimed French cinematographer of his generation and one of the key figures of the New Wave.

Listeners: Bernard Cohn

Bernard Cohn est un réalisateur et écrivain français, ayant réalisé cinq film ainsi que de nombreux reportages et séries télévisées. En tant qu'assistant réalisateur, il a travaillé avec plusieurs grands cinéastes, notamment Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut, Otto Preminger et Woody Allen. Il fut membre fondateur du ciné-club Ciné-Qua-Non et a participé à la rédaction et traduction en anglais, de plusieurs ouvrages sur le cinéma.

Benard Cohn is a French filmmaker and writer, who has directed five films as well as numerous documentaries and television series. As an assistant director, he worked with many important filmmakers, including Luis Buñuel, François Jacob, Otto Preminger and Woody Allen. He was a founding member of the Ciné-Qua-Non cinema club and has acted as editor and translator for various publications on the world of cinema.

Duration: 1 minute, 27 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008