American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 58

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Tales of Ordinary Madness

Left: Colored fabric covering the windows of an apartment lends emotional shading to scenes involving Claudia (Melora Walters). Above: Anderson and Elswit during a break on set.

ple characters, a complex narrative and some daring, unusual turns, including a climactic sequence of frogs raining down from the heavens. The story unfolds over a single day as a major storm gathers around the San Fernando Valley setting. The various strands are held together more by chronology (the progression from
58 May 2012

morning to night) and thematic connections (people seeking love and redemption) than by a traditional plot. The key characters include a dying man (Jason Robards), his wife (Julianne Moore) and his nurse (Philip Seymour Hoffman); a misogynistic self-help guru (Tom Cruise); a young game-show phenomenon (Jeremy Blackman) and
American Cinematographer

the host of the game show (Philip Baker Hall); and a Los Angeles policeman (John C. Reilly) and the unhappy woman (Melora Walters) he tries to assist. The large cast enriched the film but also complicated the shoot. “We knew we’d have to shoot completely out of sequence to accommodate the actors’ schedules, but the weather and time of day were very important to the story,” says Elswit. “The film starts on a sunny morning, it’s overcast and drizzling by afternoon, it’s raining by magic hour, and by nightfall it’s a downpour. The weather and time of day had to be apparent in every shot.” Consequently, Anderson and Elswit had to plan their setups to a degree they hadn’t before. “We had very few sets,” the cinematographer recalls, “and in prep we went to all the locations with a viewfinder and lined up every setup with stand-ins. Paul would say, ‘John Reilly will stand here, Melora Walters will stand there, and we’ll do close-ups here and here with the window in the frame there.’ It’s the only time in any of his films that he gave the blocking to the actors before letting them rehearse. He was apologetic, but it was the only way to make it all work.” Though camera angles were typically preplanned to work within Magnolia’s overall design, Elswit and



American Cinematographer - May 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - May 2012

American Cinematographer - May 2012
Contents
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Short Takes: M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”
Production Slate: Person of Interest • The Raven
Harsh Realms
Wild Passion
Tales of Ordinary Madness
Top of Their Class
Center Stage for Cinematographers
Post Focus: Technicolor Restores Wings
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
In Memoria: Ric Waite, ASC; Herbert S. Alpert, ASC, CSC
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Darius Khondji
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - American Cinematographer - May 2012
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 1
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 2
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 3
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Contents
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 5
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 6
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 7
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 9
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 11
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Short Takes: M.I.A.’s “Bad Girls”
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 13
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 14
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 15
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 16
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 17
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Production Slate: Person of Interest • The Raven
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 19
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 20
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 21
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 22
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 23
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 24
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 25
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 26
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 27
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 28
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 29
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 30
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 31
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Harsh Realms
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 33
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 34
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 35
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 36
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 37
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 38
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 39
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 40
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 41
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Wild Passion
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 43
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 44
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 45
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 46
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 47
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 48
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 49
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 50
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 51
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Tales of Ordinary Madness
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 53
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 54
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 55
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 56
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 57
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 58
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 59
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 60
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 61
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Top of Their Class
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 63
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 64
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 65
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 66
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 67
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 68
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Center Stage for Cinematographers
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 70
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 71
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 72
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 73
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 74
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 75
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 76
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 77
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 78
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 79
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 80
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 81
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Post Focus: Technicolor Restores Wings
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 83
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 84
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 85
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 86
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 87
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 89
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 90
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 91
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - In Memoria: Ric Waite, ASC; Herbert S. Alpert, ASC, CSC
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 96
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 97
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - 99
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - ASC Close-Up: Darius Khondji
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - May 2012 - Cover4
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