American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 22

Production Slate

I

Decoding a Legacy
By Patricia Thomson

After decades of obscurity, Alan Turing, the young mathematician who cracked the Nazi Enigma code and laid the foundation for computer science, is finally getting his due. In 2009,
Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued an apology for Turing's
1952 conviction on homosexuality charges, which had led to the
British war hero's suicide two years later. The Queen then
granted a rare pardon in 2013. In between, a script by Graham
Moore grabbed attention when it topped the Black List, Hollywood executives' ranking of the best undeveloped screenplays.
Out of that came The Imitation Game.
Bringing Turing's story to the screen is Norwegian helmer
Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) and director of photography
Óscar Faura. The cinematographer's work on the tsunami drama
The Impossible landed him his interview with Tyldum, who
recalls, "I was blown away. [The Impossible] had this poetic
element, and at the same time it captured the realism." That
happened to be Tyldum's goal on The Imitation Game as well:
"To make it real, but make it poetic." The other essential ingredient was adrenaline. "I wanted to use the language of the
thriller without disturbing the realism," the director notes.
Faura was well prepared. All his features have been shot
on 35mm, and he cut his teeth on 16mm at Barcelona's Univer22

January 2015

sity School of Cinema and Visual Communication of Catalonia
(ESCAC), where he met director J.A. Bayona, his steadiest
collaborator. After graduation, the two shot numerous music
videos, commercials, and then in 2007, Faura's first feature, The
Orphanage - a supernatural thriller and Spanish box-office hit.
They reunited again for The Impossible and are currently filming
A Monster Calls.
Along the way, Faura has consistently worked with
camera operator and ESCAC alum Albert Carreras, who again
joined him for The Imitation Game. After all these years, says
Faura, "We are very much in sync."
The telling of Turing's story involved two wars and three
timelines. The director explains, "There's the war that went on
inside Hut 8 [the decoders' workplace], which is Turing's war
against his coworkers and against time. Then there's the actual
war; we wanted to express that by dehumanizing it, making it
into a war machine, with submarines, tanks, planes, and very
few people."
The film opens in 1951 as Manchester police detectives
examine the aftermath of a burglary at the home of Turing
(Benedict Cumberbatch), which begins an investigation into his
past. The second timeline is during World War II, beginning with
Turing's interview at the top-secret Government Code and
Cypher School at Bletchley Park, and continuing until the war's
end. The third follows Turing at Sherborne boarding school,

American Cinematographer

Unit photography by Jack English, courtesy of The Weinstein Co.

Mathematician
Alan Turing
(Benedict
Cumberbatch,
center) and a
team of decoders
crack the Nazi
Enigma code
and lay
the foundation
for computer
science in the
World War II-era
biopic The
Imitation Game.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - January 2015

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Intro
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 4
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 5
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 6
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 7
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American Cinematographer - January 2015 - 48
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K1
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K2
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K3
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American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K5
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American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K7
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American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K10
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K11
American Cinematographer - January 2015 - K12
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