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Flixist Awards 2010: Best Cinematography

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If there’s a pattern to be had among the cinematographers honored by the 2010 Flixist Awards, it’s a devotion to the practical flavor of filmmaking that served us well before the digital age. Our nominees tried to get everything they could in the camera, in the first place, and in quick time.

With budget constraints or the pressured timeline of a blockbuster production shot across multiple countries, it must have been tempting to “fix it in post†with the advent of CG and color correction, but this year’s nominees understand that digital enhancement can do as much to break the balance as secure it. Flags were raised to cover lighting sources, carpet patterns designed to hide tracks, music was used to establish rhythm of camera movement, and as for Enter the Void… who knows what tripped out craziness existed or was manipulated? Our own Tom Fronczak did his best to describe it as a “kaleidoscope of cacophony.â€

The winner of the 2010 Flixie for achievement in cinematography is:

If there’s a pattern to be had among the cinematographers honored by the 2010 Flixist Awards, it’s a devotion to the practical flavor of filmmaking that served us well before the digital age. Our nominees tried to get everything they could in the camera, in the first place, and in quick time.

With budget constraints or the pressured timeline of a blockbuster production shot across multiple countries, it must have been tempting to “fix it in post” with the advent of CG and color correction, but this year’s nominees understand that digital enhancement can do as much to break the balance as secure it. Flags were raised to cover lighting sources, carpet patterns designed to hide tracks, music was used to establish rhythm of camera movement, and as for Enter the Void… who knows what tripped out craziness existed or was manipulated? Our own Tom Fronczak did his best to describe it as a “kaleidoscope of cacophony.”

The winner of the 2010 Flixie for achievement in cinematography is:{{page_break}}

Matthew Libatique, or “Matty” for anyone who’s listened to a Darren Aronofsky DVD commentary track, has worked with the director on all of his films spare The Wrestler, and shares with Aronofsky a personal history that goes back to their pre-Pi days in film school.

For Black Swan, Libatique carried much of the weight himself. Without the budget or the time to collaborate with others, or benefit from the luxury of pre-lighting, Matty ran from setup to setup making small adjustments then darting off to the next. His handheld camerawork did as much dancing as any eighty pound ballerina in Black Swan as he somehow managed to indie-fy techniques he picked up shooting Iron Man 2 just before, and brought that gritty realism of The Wrestler into his own personal portfolio.

I took some time in my analysis of Black Swan to describe how much tension was gained from the tight, voyeuristic over-the-shoulder attachment to Natalie Portman that Libatique was more than prepared for. With handheld fluorescent tubes and lighting sources already present at the universities and nightclubs where it was shot, Matty Libatique once again displayed is talent for bouncing light and setting a tone that gets under the skin of everyone but the most desensitized extremist.

Along with True Grit’s Hailee Steinfield, we honor our second Filipino Flixie Award Winner of 2010.

Congratulations Matthew Libatique!

VOTING BREAKDOWN

  • Black Swan - 7
  • I Am Love - 3
  • Enter the Void - 3
  • Inception - 2
  • 127 Hours - 1
  • The Fighter - 1
  • Of Gods and Men - 1

 

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Glenn Morris
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