January 23, 2012
Director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert DeNiro get the credit for the ferocious 1980 film "Raging Bull," but Michael Chapman's intricate cinematography underlies its lasting impact. "Raging Bull" is one of the 13 films featured in Emory Cinematheque's spring series, "Painting with Light: 13 Masterpieces of the Art of Cinematography (1928-2002)," which offers free screenings every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in White Hall 205.
From the silent era to contemporary films, the series explores the lavish effects and subtle details of color scheme, lighting, film stock, angles and framing. Launching the series is the late silent-era film "The Crowd" (1928), with a live performance by celebrated pianist and silent film accompanist Donald Sosin on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
Other highlights include "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935) with an introduction by Salman Rushdie, Emory's Distinguished Writer in Residence, as well as cinematic breakthroughs of the 1940s and 50s: "Baby Doll," "Leave Her to Heaven" and "Sweet Smell of Success." Later films include "Raging Bull," "Out of Sight," and "Personal Velocity: Three Portraits."
Associate Professor of Film Studies Karla Oeler, series curator, says, "The art of cinematography—which stages the exact ways in which the camera frames, filters and records each image in a film—is a crucial and often neglected one. Often the full physical effect of a film is simply lost in our smaller formats—and along with this, the remarkable precision, power and elegance of images created only by talented cinematographers working with the best directors."
Emory Cinematheque is a collaboration between Emory College and the Department of Film and Media Studies. The series' 35 mm projection gives the community the opportunity to see films in their original, intended format—and the Cinematheque screenings continue to grow in popularity, attracting full crowds each Wednesday, says Matthew Bernstein, chair of film studies.