News / Arts & Entertainment

    At Oscars, Name on Lips and Envelopes is 'Chivo'

    FILE - Emmanuel Lubezki arrives at the 88th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 8, 2016.
    FILE - Emmanuel Lubezki arrives at the 88th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Feb. 8, 2016.
    Associated Press

    No name resonates in Hollywood right now quite like "Chivo.''

    That's the nickname of the famed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, whose acrobatic long-takes and luminous images of natural light have made him revered like few others - and may make him a three-peat Oscar winner.

    Lubezki is behind some of the most dazzling film photography in recent years: the asteroid storm hurtling through the vast 3-D space of "Gravity,'' the seemingly continuous backstage sweep of "Birdman,'' the elemental beauty of Terrence Malick's films. His audacious, real-time sequences have made him synonymous with a seamless magic not before seen in cinema.

    "I think it was John Huston who said, 'When I shoot a whale, I shoot the face and then I cut and I shoot the tail. And everybody understands there's a whale,''' says Lubezki. "But sometimes when you show the entire whale and when you show the parts that seem not as important, there's a deeper connection.''

    After winning Academy Awards the last two years for Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity'' and Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman,'' Lubezki is up this year for Inarritu's frontier epic "The Revenant,'' and he's expected to win. Much of the film's acclaim (it leads with 12 nominations), is owed to its lush immersion in a raw, 19th century wilderness (it was shot largely in the Canadian Rockies) and its balletic single-take sequences, most famously the single-take bear attack.

    Yet Lubezki is as modest as the cinematography of "The Revenant'' is grand.

    "I don't know if I'm an incredible cinematographer but I'm definitely a craftsman that is trying to find a language for each project and that's what's really exciting for me,'' he says. "When you feel that it's working, it's a very powerful feeling. Sometimes you cannot even sleep at night because you're so excited.''

    Lubezki has worked with the Coen brothers ("Burn After Reading''), Michael Mann ("Ali'') and Tim Burton ("Sleepy Hollow''). But the two directors he's most steadfastly collaborated with are Malick ("He has affected me more than almost anybody,'' says Lubezki) and

    Mexican film director Alfonso Cuaron, a member of the jury at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, poses during a photo call for the event in Venice, Italy, Sept. 2, 2015.
    Mexican film director Alfonso Cuaron, a member of the jury at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, poses during a photo call for the event in Venice, Italy, Sept. 2, 2015.


    Lubezki and Cuaron met as teenage film students in Mexico City. Together, they frequented a local art house theater watching films by Kurosawa, Tarkovsky and Coppola that were sometimes accidentally projected in full-screen prints that showed the apparatus of moviemaking, like boom mics and lights.

    Lubezki, who first wanted to be a still photographer, was converted to movies a week into film school. Cuaron recalls it as an organic marriage: "He was one with the media.''

    "He would be fascinated by light,'' says Cuaron. "What makes him among the great cinematographers is he understands film as a language. The conventional way of seeing cinematography is just a set of tools.''

    In films like 2001's "Y Tu Mama Tambien'' and 2006's "Children of Men,'' Cuaron and Lubezki have pushed the bounds of long, fluid takes by utilizing smaller digital cameras and the flexibility of Steadicams.

    "I remember in 'Y Tu Mama Tambien,' we started talking about just letting the shot last until the natural consequence,'' says Cuaron. "From then on, I guess, it was very difficult to go back.''

    Lubezki has been at the forefront of a trend in movies that favors the visceral realism of long takes over montage. Filmmakers like Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave'') and Cary Fukunaga ("True Detective'') have also pushed further than the fabled long takes of Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil'' or Alfred Hitchcock's ``Rope.''

    Such feats risk showiness, but in Lubezki's hands, they can be jarringly immersive, presented through a crisp digital window. Scenes like the Arikara ambush of the company of trappers early in "The Revenant'' play out in real time, smack in the middle of a 360-degree storm of action. The tense silence beforehand, the mayhem of battle and the fleeing retreat down a river all unfold without a single blink.

    Lubezki cautions "this wonderful trick'' must always come out of the material, (in "The Godfather,'' he notes, it would be disastrous). And it depends on a director who knows how to block the scene. But he does sense a shift in the language of film.

    "When you create these long shots, it feels to me as if I was transported there. It feels more dangerous and more mysterious,'' says Lubezki. "Cutting and shooting with multiple cameras and so on was so effective 10 years ago but is maybe not as effective anymore as a trick. Probably this trick of the long take will become old in a few years, too, and we'll need to come up with another trick.''

    But Lubezki is by no means a one-trick pony. His films with Malick (including "Tree of Life'' and the upcoming "Knight of Cups'') are impressionistic and fragmented. Drawn to real environments and eschewing artificial light, he's ushered in a more naturalistic kind of moviemaking that can verge on the sublime.

    "Maybe,'' he says, "there's something that suddenly trickles into the movie that feels spiritual, that feels connected to something larger.''

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs