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 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 5:52 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I had the pleasure to sit down and talk to legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond the other day. Read it here (you can skip the Norwegian intro):

http://montages.no/2013/09/vi-har-mott-den-legendariske-filmfotografen-vilmos-zsigmond/

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:08 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Nice interview, Thor. I know you're not a Woody Allen fan but I still wish you had asked a question about his experiences working with him. I understand you must have had time constraints as well.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:33 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yeah...and Zsigmond wasn't actually that keen on talking about his Allen collaborations.

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:44 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

Really? Could you elaborate? He's gone on record as having learned a lot from Allen:

"And I learned a lot from Woody Allen because I did three movies with him and he loves long-lasting shots. He'd start with a wide-angle shot, and then the camera dolly would move closer and closer and he doesn't cut away. With modern movies, you're shaking your head because there are so many cuts."

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jun/16/entertainment/la-et-cm-ca-vilmos-zsigmond-conversation-20130616

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 6:49 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I had a feeling he said it somewhat jokingly, but we didn't want to push our luck anyway. I don't know if there was any clash between them -- they both have very strong and stubborn personalities.

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 7:15 AM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

I find it hard to believe that he'd work with Allen three times and not want to. smile

Is there anything you'd wished you'd asked that you didn't think of during your preparation? Something that occurred to you after the fact?

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 7:17 AM   
 By:   Christopher Kinsinger   (Member)

Congratulations, Thor, my good friend!
What a marvelous opportunity.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 7:32 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I find it hard to believe that he'd work with Allen three times and not want to. smile

Is there anything you'd wished you'd asked that you didn't think of during your preparation? Something that occurred to you after the fact?


Absolutely. Lots of stuff. THE LONG GOODBYE, DELIVERANCE, THE DEER HUNTER, CINDERELLA LIBERTY and several other films. And some more about the ones we did discuss. And some other, more philosophical issues related to cinematography.

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 10:47 AM   
 By:   dogplant   (Member)

Bravo, Thor. Interesting that you got to chat with him about Spielberg and Kaminski, and I agree with him about "Lincoln."

I once got to chat briefly with Kaminski during a press junket tour of the set on "The Terminal" where a mutual friend introduced me to Kaminski during lunch. It was very cool, because it was informal, and I got to geek out with him about a couple of shots I had admired on "Minority Report". Remind me to tell you about that some day, if I am ever in Norway or if you are visiting Stateside again.

I think one of my favorite shots that Zsigmond did for Spielberg was in "Sugarland" where the State Troopers are hiding out in their souped-up car near a burger joint at nighttime, a really menacing shot. Spielberg had the camera low and wide, looking up at the front of the car, and the troopers were back-lit inside, with a big streetlamp behind them that illuminated their car's exhaust plume like it was a dragon venting steam, crouched before a kill. I also loved the way they used the little green lights on Maxwell Slide's police car walkie talkie to illuminate Lou Jean's face as they're driving at night and she's chatting with Tanner, it's kind of eerie and poetic, and an effective storytelling device.

There are too many great shots to choose from in "CE3K" -- I guess Truffaut smiling at Puck in that furnace of light at the end, or Neary's truck at the railroad crossing, or little Barry opening the door. Just from a cinematic storytelling point of view, I always love the shot that peers out at Neary's neighbourhood, panning across the lawns and people washing their cars, then Neary snaps shut the curtains and the camera pulls back to see him all filthy and bedraggled, completely lost to the world, as he puts the final details on the giant mud mountain in his living room. Great stuff.

I'd love it if Zsigmond would write a book some day, like Nestor Almendros did about his own career.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Those are some excellent observations, dogplant! Wish I had the time to go into that detail, because many of those issues have interested me as well.

 
 Posted:   Sep 10, 2013 - 2:15 PM   
 By:   Sigerson Holmes   (Member)

I'd love it if Zsigmond would write a book some day, like Nestor Almendros did about his own career.

In the meantime, there's this:



http://www.amazon.com/No-Subtitles-Necessary-Laszlo-Vilmos/dp/B006XF2WIY

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 11, 2013 - 11:17 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Yeah, that's an excellent film about these two giants of cinematography.

 
 Posted:   Sep 11, 2013 - 1:57 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Remember in CE3K where Dreyfuss and Dillon are driving through Wyoming to Devil's Tower and the car slows down, with the camera putting emphasis on the apparently 'dead' animals by the side of the road? At the same time, Williams underscores the point musically.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 12, 2013 - 7:44 AM   
 By:   Eugene Iemola   (Member)

Another great piece, Thor. Zsigmond has always been one of my favorite cinematographers since the Altman films.

 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2013 - 8:47 AM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

He even directed a movie, The Long Shadow from 1992 starring Liv Ullmann! And he starred in Maverick.

Would also liked to know about his more "commercial" Hollywood work like Real Genius, Sliver, Intersection, The Crossing Guard and Assassins.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2013 - 8:55 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I didn't know he STARRED in MAVERICK -- I thought he only shot it?

 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2013 - 9:28 AM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

He starred in it too, according to imdb. He played "Albert Bierstadt".

 
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