We don't discuss the nitty-gritty of film around here nearly enough: and I'm not talking about Prometheus plotholes No, I'm talking about the artistic and technical processes of making a film. One of the most thankless things about being a DoP, editor, sound designer etc... is that if they're doing their job right often times many audiences members won't even be aware of the craftmanship on display. Not drawing overt attention to the technical side of things is actually sometimes a good thing.
But that's an aside, and this thread isn't about that. The complete opposite, actually. No, this is a place to discuss those astonishing feats of cinematography that you can't help but notice. That are so accomplished, imaginative, graceful and often seemingly impossible that you can't help but notice the artistry on display. The shots that make you want to track down a making of ASAP and figure out how the **** they did it.
So, obviously we're going to see Inception and Children of Men mentioned before long, but try to pick more unusual examples if you can. Those shots or techniques that have really had an effect on you for whatever reason, and that impress no matter how many times you see them. I'll get the ball rolling, and if there's a positive response I think an 'editing' sister thread will be a nice accompaniment:
I haven't seen the full film yet, but from the handful of extended clips I've seen I'm amazed by what the crew of I Am Cuba pulled off. The synchronized long-shots are captivating, the camera angles are brilliantly unique (from cityscapes to extreme close-ups), but it's the fact that it was made in 1964 that really impresses. Made with today's tech, such poetic movement would be stunning. Back then, with all the bulky equipment and limited tech (and I'd imagine budget) it's jaw-dropping. What ****ing insane setup did these guys have?
From lots of movement to the simplest pan, I love this extended shot from Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice. Bergman's regular cinematographer Sven Nykvist was responsible for this, and while I could name any number of Bergman examples (or Tarkovsky examples at that), I was just hypnotised by this shot when I watched it. The barren landscape, the burning house, those graceful pans and careful tracking movements: the camera here has a real sense of time, colour and space. It's deceptively simple, but a damn good example of less being more.
And finally, I love pretty much every frame of the Life of O-Haru equally. Just go and watch it. Amazing.