Category Archives: Director of Photography

Luca Bigazzi the IED in Milan


A couple of weeks ago I happened to follow a very interesting workshop at the IED in Milan, held by Luca Bigazzi, well-known director of photography, among the most prolific and interesting of Italian cinema from the 80s until today.

I'm always a little’ skeptical regarding the spend in training: too many scams, too many false promises on the horizon, but I have to admit that this time was money very well spent.

Bigazzi turned out to be the person that I hoped it was: a true professional and a thinking individual, open, receptive to the maximum. It is given completely to his class (about 25 people), in a full immersion of 5 days really saturating. Not only had the opportunity to explain his way of handling light on the sets, which is confirmed stylistically set to give new substance to the technical survey and natural light, without altering it too much and exploited in a manner required, but was also able to give you insights, fully explain the concept of empathy with the figures who create the product-films and those of true collaboration and interaction, which are the basis of today's cinema, as of yesterday.

I have always admired Bigazzi also for its socio-political setting: for the fact that it is constructed “from below”, along roads at the time really unusual and independent, giving “on the” in short, at least in the direction of photography, in what is now the way of trying to make films for all those who have from twenty to thirty years. His speeches are realistic, know how to capture the change in global production, the thrust of the film to digital and from the production precisely “from below” and spread in the web world (while remaining faithful, means, the specificity of the wonderful view on cinema screen). In short, served us, was a good teacher: has been able to communicate his point of view, gave us a lot of tips on various techniques and media, the recipe of its lights “fatte in casa” and how much is “Family” in his way of making films, in close collaboration with old friends (people interessatissime, against the other).

During the same week, the night, Luke and Matthew Heat helped the boys from Macau to complete their projects Open, experiment with film directing collective. Also during this collaboration, Bigazzi proved to be open and receptive, taking advantage of the positive aspects of whether or not such experiment that we may soon see and which involved the participation of Independent Video Makers for the final shots of the film: a montage of images filmed by the protagonists themselves an interesting final performance. Also in this movie its light has been able to give a new face to the occupied spaces of Macau, that a first vision took on a mysterious aura and suspended (were also used to turn Nirvana, Salvatores, 1997).

In short, a truly artistic approach, more than technicist, to Bigazzi, Which leaves us with the message as much as possible to cultivate our taste for beauty and for socially useful, for what is culturally valuable and with the advice of making films (if that is what we want to do), da subito, urgently, without waiting for, express ourselves directly, as well as we could do with a pencil in hand.

The only thing missing, at this point, would be a little’ more aggregation in this city so rich in professionalism scattered, known and emerging, really struggling to meet: is a big problem, because cinema is not you do it yourself (and this is his beautiful).

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Nel testo di Storaro i collegamenti sono buoni, ma il legame di tutte queste riflessioni con l’idea della luce, risiede solo nella forma energetica della materia. Molte delle sue intuizioni derivano dall’atomismo della filosofia greca. Il testo di Storaro è davvero molto retorico, troppo filosofico, poco tecnico, non è scritto bene, è lirico e presenta enormi errori di sintassi.

Le riflessioni del direttore della fotografia sono anche interessanti, ma l’espressione a livello testuale e troppo contorta.

Chapter 1 – Part 4 – The “theory of technique”


I.4. The "theory of technique"

The atmosphere he creates a film is all the more powerful indefinable. The origin of this work is a way of looking at the staging, shared with the Council and expressed also by Ferzetti, for which this is understood as a process of realization of an aesthetic project narrative. The practical application of this idea is to go from virtual movie of the script, his definitive translation images[1] the, in the words of Pasolini, writing using the forms stolen from nature, that language that reality just talk. In short you decide what to see, how much and how, phase in which comes into play the role of the director of photography, as one who materially, in the strict sense, controls and manipulates instruments and means able to define the intensity and the space visible own film, that are quite different from those that we perceive through our eyes, as well as in photography in general.

The figure of the director of photography is central in the organization of work in film, but has often been neglected by critics. His job, SINCE continuously adapt to technology, just the same questions the status of neutrality that many still, absurdly, insist on giving it. In the words of Sacha Vierny, famous French operator, the author of the photograph of a film, even before his technical knowledge, certainly puts into play a kind of spontaneity specialist: his is a job at the boundary between the certainties of technology and the possibility of creating, boundaries and highly variable and influenced by several factors, contingencies such as production, the kind of movie that is going to make, the relationship with the director, the temperament of the individual operator and so. The control that he exerts on the light, even if it has a margin precise and sometimes very large autonomy, is always in the service of something else that is being built on the set, from the mediation between the various powers of the world movie. It is increasingly clear that the photograph of a film is in any case also determined by varying technical and production. The director of photography is called upon to interpret the irreducible gap that exists between the light in the scene and the one that appears on the screen, immedesimando to take his eye with the camera, that says that the visible very quickly. His job consists in a real work interpretation, But that has nothing to do with concepts, but with images and passing through the mediation of a technical apparatus with which the user reformulates and gives body to the imagination of film.

Talking, you are forced to deal with the ambiguity of the division of roles on the set, and in particular the intrusiveness of a figure like that of precisely ddf[2], who join the ranks of technicians is able to exercise very exorbitant, highlighting all that this undefined concept of "technical" includes hides and. There is therefore a real opportunity to think about continuity or breaks in the work of individual directors: In fact punctuality with which each author stresses the need for a story, of a narrative which anchor and bring the choices of lighting, reveals how the light is in a sense a "this side" of the staging (or at least that is what we mean when we say that the illumination must be "right"). This is because for a ddf is of paramount importance to put the director in a position to achieve the desired images, giving their work to its, until they are indistinguishable, feature which makes it almost impossible to properly investigate its style regardless of the atmosphere of each film and the nature of his collaborations with different directors with whom he is working in her life. The light most successful in fact, in film, is considered to be one that you can not even imagine separated by specific characters, environments and the story told in the film.

You can then simply trace the outline of the practical activities of those who create the photograph of the film, suggesting that through this operation, however, is at stake in this trend and going to recover small constant in the choices, techniques and, consequently, in the taste of the individual authors of photography: in what in essence, of their experience visual, inevitably spills in films different from each other for events and atmospheres.

The complex relationship that exists between in film theory and technique suggests, this a di Bernardi[3], the possibility of a real theory of technique, hypothetically based on three poles, which are specifically: who tells the stories, who shows images and those to whom it is directed the film. In dealing with the director of photography and cinematic picture, one can not talk about almost everything that has to do with the film, from the production of the film, the structure of the filmic narrative, the history of the authors, technicians, painting, of the composition of, sense of cinema and so on. Talking about the director of photography is a really difficult task. In times of uncertainty and fear as these are avoided discussions on substantive issues or at most, naively, you translate these uncertainties on diatribes superstructure, but any discussion, if it does not address issues at the root and does not pose thesis at the right point, is likely to become a fact Byzantine. Here, therefore, is meant to assess the repeated problem of "what" can be considered a work of art and on the basis of such considerations, ie what parameters and points of view, however, applied to an object of analysis very accurate and at the same time so vast as to become vague, which is the film photography.

In considering the problem might start with some comments on the substantial difference between an illustrator and a painter, exploiting a comparison that is still the basis of endless controversy. The illustrator has a reproduction of events always epidermal and sometimes filtered weakly from his temperament. The painter artist instead delves into the heart of the matter, and operates as a result of a laborious search, made of trial and error: an artist always pursues a social design, reveals in his work a precise reference collective and temporal. The painter artist, although linked to the customer, proceeds almost always alone, with modest means and can easily accomplish what you mean by a relative economic effort and without controls. The man of the cinema, part of their, can not lift a finger without imposing a technical installation, that conditions in a total way even before the start of the film and that it inevitably turns into a pawn of the system. The production of a film can almost never be the work of a single, but instead is, most often of times, collective creation. This aspect of cinematography democratic hypocritically, transforms the film into a composite product, and as pointed out by Bernard in an essay[4], the operation carried out in common is often antithetical to be able to express freely theories, feelings and aspirations. Then as the sole manipulator of the ideas remain who can exhibit or provide the money, and since the money for the money is the authoritarian ideology of the century, the work arises most often in this context of the time.

The film photography still survives despite having a leg now mired in the ghetto flat television and perhaps lost while denouncing the opportunity to picture an art capable of drawing with light the world outside of economic schemes. Survives in the work of those who think together and separately, ideano, structure and shape, each bringing a bit 'of themselves and their spent, the images that the viewer sees passing in front of the nose of the narrative in the amalgam. In evaluating it we refer often to painting, because the photograph of the film is to all effects and by definition, "Built drawing with light", moving. The ddf do so when the painter manages to mix the brightness appropriately essential to its operation of the shots, in the context of the narrative for images.

In conclusion, anyone who can create with their own feelings and their own wits a literary work, scientific or artistic, could be considered as "author" of the same. The backgrounds and settings are the basic elements of the film and also what it covers those who create the photograph of the same. On the other hand the dynamic film depends unquestionably, at least from the physiological point of view, the persistence of a photographed retinal and as he said Kracauer[5], in photography everything depends on the balance between realistic trend and creative trend, balance that is achieved when the latter does not try to overpower the first, but the claims.

What is an artistic process cognitive: l'opera d'art looks, through nature, to higher goals. In England the cinema was once called Bioscope because presented in visual terms the movements of the forms of life (from the greek Bios: life). The cinema was and is a sensational blend of the old mechanical technology, and the new electric world, very well defined by McLuhan[6]. On film the mechanic in its flow appears organic and makes credible vision for example of the growth of a flower. The task of the writer or filmmaker has always been then to transport the reader or viewer to a world that is his, to another that is built specially. It’ a fact that usually occurs in a manner so complete, that those who undergo this experience accept it in a subliminal way. In reality, however,, such as printing and photography, as "means hot" communicate, movies presuppose in their users a high level of literacy and rattle on the other hand the illiterate, adhering perfectly to the logic of linearity that characterizes our society. For more than 150 the photography is one of the protagonists of our daily lives and the actual context of new media comes in an impressive number of ways, always busiest, minimized artistic, as well as magnified, or carried to the nth degree. The photograph becomes an attendance in today's society almost daily. Even by Gabriele Salvatores, eg, for generations ranging from the postwar period, imagine a picture story and then think cinematographic sense has become simpler, given that by dint of watching movies each of us is built up with a sort of library frames movies all staff, obviously related to the perception that we have of these individually. Probably think in pictures and very often for actual shots, today is still before the write and you can see it in a lot of contemporary literature. In each frame, in each image of the film, contain, a microcosm that reflects the macrocosm, all the aesthetic characteristics, formal and content of the same, its intentions and its peculiarities: analyzing these moments become in their time-image, you can investigate in a legal manner on such films as artistic product.

What you want to go to build through this text then becomes a kind of open reflection, largely supportive of the creation of the pedagogy Alain Bergala, whose purpose was to make the recipients of the teaching material, involved and aware of the choices that the director and in our case the director of photography, accomplished in the design phase and recovery of the shots of the film. This system refers to the phenomenology of cinema, the semiotics of the story in pictures, the most famous philosophical theories on cinema, as well as to film aesthetics and the writings of numerous directors, directors of photography and critics. It begins with the new and old theories of mass communication, but also from all manuals that tells some of the film material, of pro-and post-film and so on. There has been partly occupied codes and parameters of the constitution of the iconic image, considering the cornerstones of an investigation which must necessarily fluctuate between multiple poles, to fully understand the object in question has.

The questions about the role of director of photography, especially as an author and artist with his own creativity, as well as technical service to directing and screenplay, are many. What is the artistic contribution of the director of photography on film? What is the relationship holds with the director? Because the most popular authors in the world of photography are Italians (among other numerous)? Chief among the attempts of this thesis is to think about a possible answer to be given to these and many other questions, about the role of the operator in the world of cinema, starting mainly from the detailed description of the job that accomplishes and in substance of what manipulates: of how and why certain choices ago, also considered to be part of the sphere crafts. Here is certainly the idea that technology is only a tool, important course, but that alone is not nothing, and also that every human being has its own techniques to relate with others. Often talking about film states that they work, a view of a large gear that must move its parts well and simultaneously at the same level, because you get what you want, but you have to wonder what's involved in the operation at the end of a film on his life when compared to fascinate, very often, are its dysfunctions, just as happens for people.

For Pasolini film was especially painting, Fellini for staging, for Visconti literature, Eisenstein for mounting, but also strength, wonder and taste to place the camera, Taviani for the cinema was especially the relationship between image and sound[7]: the photograph of the two directors of the films has always been able to grasp even the most subtle nuances of light hills sometimes sweet and sometimes inaccessible in Tuscany, the merciless sun or delicate and all the contradictions of its landscape. There is a visual syntax of cinema, but it is also obvious that each, starting from a common language and a grammar, you create your own language usandone tools in a personal way, and the investigation of this peculiar way, declinarsi in the film in more personality, which addresses the thesis.

Often the evaluation of a photograph of a film arena on a subjectivity that easy stops opinion: "I like it / I do not like". You always look at things according to their own knowledge and the cultural context of which it is part. The photograph is an image without code, though, it is evident that both, some structures affect their reading and are those related to the prospect albertiniana, then go to create all combinations of photography and film art of painting. The photographic image is not a analogue of world, although in its own has an unbreakable bond with the referent: what it portrays is built, because the optical camera and therefore also Film, subject to the laws of perspective, for which is made of a two-dimensional three-dimensional subject effigy.

Every speech is query, dialogue, but also and especially confession. In the case of film the theoretical instance has recently corrected by focusing on the entire production process of the message and the determinations of the sense that the semiotic processes can induce the network of relationships defined by the shape of the signifier. It does not seem so wrong from the analysis of this very complex interweaving of forms in order to understand the basic ideas and style, the way those of the plasma, partly always in his image and likeness. There is still a strong theoretical debate around the overcoming of the notion of representativeness of the film image, to approach that of writing and in kind of speech. However, in the cinema as well as in many other sectors, especially artistic matrix, the rules are made to be broken and you always expect that certain players Barino.

It can therefore say that the film uses to all effects a language, that there still remains a tangle of codes: it is thought that, forming, produces linguistic manifestations in turn obviously built. "To say a picture"[8], as also pointed out Rotunno, is an extremely difficult: you can try to describe it with adjectives do not own generics as good, cup, interesting, hard, joyful, Nordic, Mediterranean. It seems very complicated shape it with the words, but perhaps it is primarily a psychological issue: must be put in a position to understand the structure of photographic, perhaps starting with a detail that seems insignificant and instead reveals that to which it tends. Great writers, such as Camus, were able to express themselves through their novels with light and therefore it may in fact think that this is somehow "readable".

[1] Advice, S., Ferzetti, F., "The shop light. The directors of photography ", edited by Tadini, E., Milan, Ubulibri, 1983, the. 11

[2] Understood now as an abbreviation for director of photography. (N.d.a.)

[3] Bernardi, Sandro, "Introduction to rhetoric in the cinema", Florence, Letters, 1994, the. 1

[4] Mario Bernardo, "Time lost", in Bernardo, Mario (edited by), "Yearbook Italian Association of Cinematographers, 1990", Rome, AIC Ediz., 1990, the. 46

[5] Kracauer, Siegfried, “Film: return to physical reality”, Milan, The Assayer, 1962, the. 98

[6] Mc Luan, Marshall, "Understanding Media", trad. it. Capriolo, Hector, Milan, IS, 1999, the. 303

[7] Ferrucci, R., Turini, P., "Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. The poetry of the landscape ", Rome, Ed Gremese, 1995, the. 11

[8] Advice, S., Ferzetti, F., "The shop light. The directors of photography ", (edited by) Zens, E., Milan, Ubulibri, 1983, the. 155

Chapter 1 – Part 3 – Understanding the arts in order to understand the look of the cinematic image builder


I.3. Understanding the arts in order to understand the look of the cinematic image builder

The first experience of art was probably to be faced with a phenomenon of enchantment and magic. The first theory instead, that of the Greek philosophers, argued that it was therefore substantial mimesis and imitation of reality. Now arose the curious problem of its value, because the mimetic theory, by the terms in which it was proposed, called for the work to justify. After all, "art is useful", Aristotle insisted, medically exploitable, purifying as compared to dangerous passions.

The discourse on cinema, as also claimed Canudo[1], develops within a broader debate concerning the entire system of the arts, constantly questioned and redefined on the basis of formal and structural changes occurring in the aesthetic communication. In the film show aspects interact mediological, aesthetic and linguistic companies.

Balázs il cinema definition one medium, that is, a machine that can translate and spread on the ground plane view of the world and a tool that works, modifying, on the collective psychology, therefore a form of communication that not only produces texts, but also behaviors, ways of thinking and looking. The cinema (and the film as its product) he thought was a simultaneous conception of the world and thus an object of the theoretical discourse, before aesthetic, a language, to invent, perfecting and mastering in all its components and un'arte social, that the public should not be subjected to the creation of which should be actively involved[2]. That cinema is an art form that is gradually coming to occupy the role once played by the story and folktale, in which modernity continues to produce behaviors and collective mythologies, and is an invention comparable perhaps only, importance as, to that of the printing. However the cinema as a technique, ie machine that translates a certain vision of the world, is first and foremost a tool capable of reorienting the cultural dynamics to the visual element, interrupting the primacy of the verbal dimension and abstract, inaugurated the invention of printing. In fact, the man on the screen becomes visible, whole, in all its body, to whose destinies, caratteri e sentimenti possono essere comunicati senza la mediazione della parola, even through the language of gestures and expressions, then reunited, in a work of further completion, the spoken language.

The film is applied art, determines and is determined by attitudes and forms of everyday life, acting simultaneously on it as a mirror and model. As more and more of the photograph it is art surface, where there is no distinction between form and content, thought and expression, text and performance: its ability to be art lies precisely in this interplay between body and look, mime and point of view. That the cinema is a structure that is formalized language, in order to build the dictionary of gestures and behaviors through which the viewer learns and communicates. The man becomes visible only when a technique that makes it: a close-up as necessarily linked to insight; each procedure adopted refers to an individual look on the world. Also use a purely mechanical and not expressive of cinema, to look good, reveals a particular state of being and the process of construction of the film is inevitably anchored to look intentional of a subject, which is not always just what the director, but that is too often the result of the more eye work on the same object, although undoubtedly traced on a single main axis from predominate of one of these.

Represent the most often times does not mean record, but to build a speech, a vision of things, in order to give new form. The appearance designates the state of the relationship between vision and reality, and operates necessarily every time a blind person acts, in any case in which the image takes shape and from this point of view a configuration without visual significance could not exist. The techniques and procedures of film language are nothing more than the means by which the director and screenwriter with it, director of photography, editor, do mean things visible preventing their sense items in chaos. At the same time, however, what appears to delivery to the technique and the proceedings of the cinematic language shape their own inner. If the shot is essentially an intimate selection, it is at the same time a place of synthesis and relationship between a object and a look, largely managed by its director of photography. If the assembly is the fundamental factor rhythmic and creative film, its productivity can not be exercised regardless of the appearance of the visible represented. The intention is then pursued training at all levels and within the discourse of images makes figurable what apparently would not be: concepts, idea, abstract feelings and thought processes.

Often discussions on cinema essentially concern the power of vision. Luigi Chiarini in 1962[3], talking about the film said, reflecting on his definition, that the film is certainly the work of narrative, but not fiction, show but not theater, primarily visual art but painting, that has rhythms in time, but that is not music and at the same time has drawn and inspired, food and teaching all these art forms. Therefore affirm the existence of a close relationship between cinema and visual arts is not new, and the search for sources iconic often used to reconstruct the personality of the director or, in an even more specific, director of photography. The institute, however, mechanical parallels between painting and frame could become a mechanism misleading. There is now no doubt that the film is an essentially visual in which music, speech, noise, are unitary body with the image and for this, to dwell on the analysis of single frame, to discover relationships with painting, is methodologically wrong, although often one can not make instrumentally less. For film obviously refers to any type of recording motion pictures, possibly accompanied by sounds, of any existing support, or invent[4]. The camera can not be isolated, being closely connected with the rest of the film, which of course is not simply a sum of beautiful photographs, but a unitary structure in which movement and durability are crucial. Most significant relationships may, however, be sought among the sources of training figurative representation of a director or an operator[5] and the way to turn, that is, to look at and interpret reality in all its aspects, outer and inner. Many directors, such as Bellocchio, but is only one of the hundreds of examples that could be done, have been tireless creators of images, great displays of spiritual sensations, personal dramas, of disappointments and victories, but equally important characters have actively and in an essential, worked with them in the research and development of certain atmospheres: these are in most cases the great screenwriters, but most of all directors of photography.

The true author of a film at the end of accounts is in most cases the director, who announced his point of view, its vision and subjective experience, but it does very often through the eyes of these humble workers who put all their cultural and figurative, and the personal sensitivity (using the medium of film), the service of the story you want to tell and dreams or primary views of the director himself. No coincidence that the term director of photography was and is replaced by the equivalent in other languages Cinematographer, or "writer with moving images".

The history of photography, like all stories, is an event that takes place and creeps along a route that should lead to the identification of its identity, as well as opportunities, that of his own existential necessity, without which, on the other hand, there would have been no Niepce-Daguerre's invention Talbot-, born premesse che, over time, have suggested and permitted. In the history of photography, as noted in a very precise even Zannier[6], we tried gradually to perfect every result as a function of high fidelity, which determined its specific likelihood, but in the meantime it was discovered as this quality is not atro that one way or means to identify an unknown hand and then paradoxically unlikely. From the development of the collodion, first wet, from 1851 and then dry, with a greater ease of production, the photograph took on a new identity, much more related to the sphere of aesthetics and less than that of the sciences, which is then exasperated the pictorialism of the end of the century, directly addressing the ever deltutto competition ended with painting. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the field of photography through and resolved in some ways his technological crisis of origins and that due to issues of aesthetic and artistic, for lead in the search for a linguistic identity. Each image in the bottom informs and explains at the same time, by the way he, ie its aesthetics and vice versa. Even Benedetto Croce expressed on, stating in 1909, with its well-known ambiguous and suspicious availability, that the photograph had as its artistic side intuition and point of view of the photographer himself, cioè la maniera di accostarsi all’atteggiamento che egli era intenzionato a cogliere[7], adding that if this was not all art was because she could not get rid of the natural: that is, which reflects the light with which it writes the image, remained just unavoidable and insubordinate.

It became increasingly clear, with the spread of the medium among a bunch of amateurs, informed by a publishing specialist who was born already in the late nineteenth century, filled their houses and slabs of chemical concoctions of all kinds, that the photograph was intended to be seen increasingly as a branch of art, as clear personal transfiguration of reality and, as an artistic object, it was entitled to the same protection as that accorded to intellectual property, defending copyright and artistic property[8]. He was born at that time even the generic concept and complex producer, as the one who would be entitled to declare his photographic production, because out of his company, work of his person or of his staff, or according to their means.

And 'now clear that a portrait is not, as it was believed in the past, picture natural and spontaneous, Bensi una conventional representation of the subject, constructed on the basis of a model. If, therefore, the photograph captures a lot less than any other form of art, the soul and the truth of his subject, it can, however, reconstruct a semblance, a model of individuality: waxing essentially another form true, although from what we consider real. Very often, then the photo is not a formal organization that produced from a multiple reality: the social circumstances, technical and aesthetic of its own processing.

As also claimed Peter Masoero, one of the most important intellectuals who dealt with photography in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, it can be considered an art in all respects, but with special characters, dissimilar from those that animate for example the painting, because fewer people this, but much more extensive, universal, shallower, but certainly more encyclopedic. The photograph touches vast borders, what urban art can not achieve and why it is exercised in a convenient, requires a thorough knowledge; it is certainly a product of science, of which the artistic branch is one of the manifestations.

The professional who supplies its products to the society is himself a member, interprets the needs and philosophies after having absorbed implicitly emphasizing, with the production of their works, the relationship of mutual respect that binds society. The film thrives on ambivalence, that is, of a dualism between art and referentiality that is typical of his whole story, as well as of that of the photo. In the first place the amateur photographer test the desire to document, that is, in a gesture to stop their impressions and emotions, to verify in an objective fact that we are accustomed to see with the eye of his own sensibility: the singular image of a well known. The twist is what you want, photography is not recountable, nor of any proportion to its true eternal rival, that basically is painting, but writing, evoking, with the same ambiguities, situations, faces, actions and landscapes. The photograph is an amazing suction illusory likelihood, is the reckless pursuit of the desire to stop something; a book as a photograph are just trying to make palpable and therefore controllable, how much is impossible to have: the abstractness of feel and see the ambiguity of the. That image of photographic matrix is ​​a universe made up, such as literature. From the time of Giambattista Della Porta[9], inventor of the camera obscura in the sixteenth century, è noto che la fotografia è “scrittura della luce” e non a caso a livello etimologico la si è sempre accostata alla radice grapho, from the greek "write", and produce speech through the signs.

The screen in the same way is a great page, a catalyst of the immediate evocations collective. A movie, as common work, is actually like a symphony played by a group of soloists and, therefore, a text written by various hands: while having each its own sensitivity, all try to express themselves in the same score, directed by a man, intent to achieve the same image. As also stated Storaro[10], perhaps the film stock is able to record even the emotions of the people involved in the making of the film. Do not forget that one of the few characters in the film are not only domestically and abroad on holiday, there are at most technical of the highest level and among them the primacy have always had directors of photography.

There is an underlying momentum is undeniable that the photo writes with light the significant, but soon, through a well-known reversal, it decrees as worthy of attention that photographer and the same thing happens in the movies, passing through the grammar of the image.

[1] Grignaffini, G., "Knowledge and theories of cinema. The silent period ", Bologna, Clueb, 1989, the. 59

[2] Grignaffini, G., "Knowledge and theories of cinema. The silent period ", Bologna, Clueb, 1989, the. 79


[3] Ferrucci, R., Turini, P., "Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. The poetry of the landscape ", Rome, Ed Gremese, 1995, the. 27

[4] International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF),

[5] Understood here right now as a synonym, from the history of the origins of its role, of "Director of photography" (N.d.a.)

[6] Zannier, I., "From the collodion bromoil in search of an identity", in Zannier, Italo, "Signs of Light. The photograph Italian at the age of Collodion pictorialism ", Flight. II, Ravenna, Longo Publisher, 1993, the. 8

[7] "... Even if he has anything artistic photography, it has as it transmits, at least in part, the intuition of the photographer, his point of view, the attitude and the situation that he is industriato to take ... ", in Zannier, I., "From the collodion bromoil in search of an identity", in Zannier, Italo, "Signs of Light. Italian photography the age of the Collodion to pictorialism ", Flight. II, Ravenna, Longo Publisher, 1993, the. 10

[8] Costantini, Paul, "The national photographic convention, places of intellectual exchange ", in Zannier, Italo, "Signs of Light. Italian photography from the age of Collodion to pictorialism ", Flight. II, Ravenna, Longo Publisher, 1993, the. 56


[9] Beltramini, Maria, "Magazines photographic Milan nineteenth and twentieth centuries", in Zannier, Italo, "Signs of Light. Italian photography from the age of Collodion to pictorialism ", Flight. II, Ravenna, Longo Publisher, 1993, the. 164; Giovanni Battista della Porta was a natural philosopher, alchemist and playwright, lived in Naples from 1535 to the 1615, who cared a lot even optical, wrote an important treatise on the refraction of light.

[10] Bernard, Mario, "40th anniversary AIC", Rome, And. AIC, 1990, the. 157

Chapter 1 – Part 2 – Believe in the reality of cinema and know how to observe


I.2. Believe in the reality of cinema and know how to observe

“ …Lei era come uno di quegli specchi dotati di memoria inventati in Francia nel 1839, capaci di riunire a sé, imperturbabili, il negativo e il positivo e per questo, forse, racchiusi e protetti entro scatolette foderate di velluto, come fossero piccole bare, perché soltanto in quelle condizioni si riassumono i misteri, si intuisce il confine tra odio e amore, si intende e si percepisce il confine tra la vita e la morte, tra il volere assoluto e l’incondizionata casualità, fatta di istinti, accadimenti imprevisti, illusorie attese, abbagli…”[1]

Kracauer si domandava a suo tempo se la strada per arrivare allo spirituale non passasse anzitutto dal corporeo. Steiner affermava, part of their, che il manifestarsi del pensiero nella realtà è l’autentica comunicazione dell’uomo: ne conseguiva che se lo spirituale fosse una realtà, allora non potrebbe avere una natura indefinibile e ultraterrena, ma che piuttosto dovrebbe diventare tangibile, dentro e assieme a quel che si vede. Tutto questo è in fondo ciò a cui mira il cinema e in sostanza la base di ogni film. La pellicola cinematografica è stata inventata per questo: perché quel secolo (ma anche il nostro) aveva bisogno di un linguaggio che rendesse tutto immediatamente visibile e ne è anche l’aspetto più bello, nel momento in cui in una semplice rappresentazione del quotidiano, si manifesta all’improvviso, in maniera epifanica, un significato universale.

Le immagini cinematografiche, il loro contenuto e collegamento, contano oggi moltissimo: esse sono, come dice Di Giammateo[2], l’unico luogo e tempo accettabili e dotati di senso non ingannevole, nei limiti in cui la certezza è assicurata dalla consapevolezza della natura ambigua dell’immagine audiovisiva. In questi fotogrammi confluiscono, non senza stridere, i risultati di varie manipolazioni tecniche, come la fotografia, gli effetti speciali e il disegno animato, ma anche narrative, registiche e recitative. Molti dei classici problemi dell’estetica moderna sembrano sempre riguardare da vicino la fotografia in generale: per esempio il rapporto tra l’estetica e le altre attività umane, come quelle rivolte al vero, all’utile, al bene, il rapporto tra arte e natura, il problema dell’imitazione, il legame tra estetico e artistico e dunque tra esperienza e produzione dell’oggetto d’arte, quello tra Arte con la maiuscola e tecnica ed il passaggio stesso dall’esperienza alla concreta creazione. Il tutto passa per l’eterna questione sul “se l’arte sia una o molteplice” e quindi attraverso il vaglio della possibile varietà dei mezzi espressivi e della gerarchia delle arti. D’altra parte queste sono tutte riflessioni che attualmente non potrebbero non avere a che fare con la forte presenza dell’immagine fotografica nella nostra società.

The history of photography, così come anche quella del cinema, secondo S. Sontag[3], potrebbe essere letta come quella della lotta tra due differenti imperativi: quello di abbellire, che deriva dalle belle arti e quello di dire la verità, misurabile non solo in base a una nozione di vero che tende a prescindere da qualunque valore, di matrice scientifica, ma anche secondo un ideale moralistico, tratto dai modelli letterari ottocenteschi e dalla professione allora nuova del giornalismo indipendente. Come il romanziere post romantico e il reporter, il fotografo era a suo tempo tenuto a smascherare l’ipocrisia e a combattere l’ignoranza e allo stesso modo nel cinema sono sempre convissuti dimensione documentaristica e di finzione, declinati entrambi in un gran numero di varianti e di generi.

Quando ci si trova di fronte ad un film, a questo mondo autonomo fatto di immagini, sounds, di movimento e di parola, credendo nella realtà di ciò che è ripreso e nel discorso che ci si accinge ad ascoltare, si fruisce e si analizza ciò che viene percepito, in maniera molto diretta, avendo immagazzinato a livello culturale tutta una serie di marchi, di sue parti costitutive e significanti, che trasformano ogni inquadratura in parte del messaggio.

Analizzare, secondo la valenza etimologica del termine, vale per sciogliere e scomporre: ogni analisi potrebbe essere considerata una divisione, un’operazione per cui un qualunque testo viene sottoposto ad un metodo, al fine di dare una determinata struttura come risultato. Il resto di questa analisi sarebbero le innumerevoli interpretazioni possibili. La forma del testo potrebbe dunque essere considerata fin dall’inizio dell’indagine un’entità mutevole, che viene continuamente costruita e ridefinita dal lettore, dallo spettatore o dall’analista. La serie di visioni possibili determina quella dei sensi, ma anche quella delle forme plausibili del testo, che si può costituire anche in sede di analisi stessa e lo spazio del film diventa quello della possibilità[4].

Inizialmente si riteneva che il fotografo fosse un osservatore acuto, ma imparziale della realtà, uno scrivano più che un poeta, ma quando la gente capì, e non le ci volle poi molto[5], che nessuno fotografava nello stesso modo una stessa cosa, le fotografie non attestarono più solo ciò che era, ma anche quello che un individuo ci vedeva: smettevano di essere considerate unicamente un documento, per assumersi invece la responsabilità di una valutazione personale del mondo.

Il risultato fotografico di un film non viene valutato solo in funzione di una delle sue fasi di lavorazione, ma di tutto il ciclo di produzione della pellicola, dalla fabbricazione alla proiezione. Generalmente chi assiste ad una rappresentazione conclude dicendo: “…è una bella fotografia…è una brutta fotografia…”, ma molto spesso non ha la più pallida idea di cosa stia effettivamente sostenendo. Per fare un’affermazione del genere, in fact, occorrerebbe essere in grado di fare un’analisi dalla A alla Z di tutti gli aspetti fotografici del film, vale a dire dal tipo di emulsione scelta, fino allo schermo e all’occhio (condizioni di stanchezza, età e via dicendo) che ha preso in esame l’immagine proiettata. A tutti gli effetti è possibile recepire il discorso di un film, cogliendone anche, separatamente e su vari livelli, gli aspetti fruiti in maniera molto diretta delle sue componenti, tra le quali le immagini di per sé stesse, ma per andare al di là di una generica impressione, più o meno adeguata alla vicenda narrata, che la fotografia sia stata o meno effettivamente in grado di esprimere il racconto, occorre essere in grado di comprenderla in tutti i suoi aspetti. Il modo più diretto di capire certe scelte stilistiche e comunicative sta proprio nell’analisi delle motivazioni e delle parti costitutive della storia e dell’aspetto delle sue forme.

Il progresso delle idee nasce quasi sempre dalla scoperta di relazioni impensate, di collegamenti inauditi e di reti non ancora immaginate. Solo una teoria complessiva molto potente, come ad esempio quella di Deleuze, elaborata durante la prima metà degli anni Ottanta, è stata in grado di scardinare questi frame di riferimento con l’esplicita affermazione di una pluralità e di un parallelismo di forme di espressione e di pensiero fra le arti, corrispondente ad una molteplicità anche ontologica del reale e non più dunque riconducibile ad un’unica dimensione. Solo in questa situazione è riconoscibile nel cinema una nuova pratica delle immagini e dei segni, di cui la filosofia dovrebbe elaborare la teoria, in quanto pratica concettuale.

Rispetto alle interpretazioni dominanti degli anni Sessanta e Settanta, che si basavano sull’incrocio tra linguistica, retorica e psicoanalisi, i cui luoghi d’esposizione più celebri si trovano probabilmente nei saggi di Roland Barthes, i nostri punti di riferimento risiedono piuttosto in alcune interpretazioni che sono definibili come appartenenti alle cosiddette teorie di campo o anche a quelle metodologiche. Le domande poste infatti al cinema, oggi trascendono spesso il fenomeno a cui sono rivolte: provengono da fuori e puntano ad andare al di là. Del resto la cinematografia stessa invita a questa pratica, dal momento che non si presenta più come un territorio a sé stante, ma in qualità di crocevia di esperienze diverse. Molte recenti teorie generali del cinema ruotano insomma intorno all’idea, implicita od esplicita, che i film, anche quelli di finzione, ci offrano sempre un ritratto della società: un tipo di interpretazione che potrebbe anche essere definito, come sostiene Carmagnola, sistemico[6]. Oggi la realtà viene percepita come uno degli esisti possibili dell’esistenza e dunque anche il cinema, prima dei videogiochi e degli ipertesti, riproduce la stessa ambiguità ed inconsistenza della struttura fantasmagorica che supporta la nostra esperienza della realtà sociale. La pluralità delle manifestazioni della cultura agisce in parallelo: tutte possono essere considerate forme di pensiero dotate di uno specifico medium espressivo, sia esso parola o immagine.

Il cinema dunque non parla semplicemente d’altro, non è solo allegoria e non va tradotto come tale: il senso che racchiude e manifesta non può essere esaurito in un sistema concettuale. Ogni film è un mondo e un discorso in cui si intrecciano ulteriori dimensioni, dalle quali nascono anche i singoli fotogrammi della pellicola. The cinema, com’è già stato sottolineato, si basa allora su un doppio regime di rappresentazione costituito da una parte dalla sfera del visivo, caratteristica delle immagini, che consiste nel mostrare e dall’altra parte da quella del discorsivo, per cui i singoli fotogrammi vengono connessi e coordinati in un enunciato o racconto. Questi due regimi, per quanto inseparabili, non sono identici e si influenzano reciprocamente facendo del cinema un’arte di confine tra il dire e il mostrare, tra il parlare ed il tacere. Dalla composizione delle inquadrature in discorso, nasce un senso che è diverso da quello delle immagini stesse, ma che esiste solo in interazione con il loro.

Il cinema e la televisione hanno marcato nella cultura occidentale un massiccio ritorno all’oralità primitiva della cultura, dopo secoli di dominio della lingua scritta. La nostra, come ha sottolineato Zannier, è l’era dell’iconismo[7], iniziata proprio con l’invenzione della fotografia, che ha imposto un nuovo modo di vedere, configurare e capire lo spazio, quindi la realtà nel suo insieme. Nella fotografia le singole parole, elementi costitutivi dell’immagine, alluse in maniera più o meno nitida nei suoi segni, si integrano in modo sintattico nell’unità del quadro, piuttosto che nei singoli frammenti. La struttura generale della fotografia detta le informazioni e il messaggio, l’idea sostanziale di quella realtà che il fotografo concepisce in una volta sola, con uno sguardo che comanda e organizza. Il fotografo artista non riproduce solo la realtà, concetto già largamente discusso dalla nascita del mezzo fino ad oggi, ma la interpreta aggiungendo a ciò che egli produce un sentimento e una forza ordinatrice del tutto personali. La stessa cosa fa chi gestisce le immagini di un film, nel momento in cui fa interagire le ragioni del racconto con quelle del suo occhio e di tutto ciò che sta dietro di esso, cioè mente, personalità e ricordo. L’equivoco “ontologico” nella fotografia è sempre stato quello di credere che essa potesse essere una riproduzione della realtà, mentre si è compreso, over time, che non può esserne che una traduzione: un’intermediazione tra il reale e l’immaginario culturale. Tale fantasticare, che è coscienza di una realtà tra le altre, pretende dalla fotografia soprattutto i suoi segni che, confrontati con le altre arti, risultano essere in primo luogo nitidezza ed istantaneità. Il momento adatto dello scatto e della ripresa diventa quello in cui si possono vedere le cose, soprattutto quelle che tutti hanno già visto, in maniera nuova. Quando a partire dalla fotografia venne violata la visibilità consueta, si produssero convenzioni nuove su ciò che ad esempio può essere considerato bello, che divenne nello specifico quello che l’occhio non può vedere o non vede, una sorta di rivelazione e la visione originale che solo la macchina può dare. Tali convenzioni dominano anche la realtà cinematografica. Se insomma il pittore costruisce e il fotografo rivela, il cineasta e nello specifico il direttore della fotografia, mette in piedi un discorso, in sostanza un mondo, rivelandoci contemporaneamente aspetti inusuali della nostra realtà. Le qualità formali dello stile, fondamentali in pittura, diventano in fotografia d’importanza secondaria rispetto a quella del soggetto e lo stesso accade in campo cinematografico, ma senza poter mai prescindere completamente da quello che è il modo di raccontare e di far vedere qualcosa, che la rende diversa da tutte le altre rappresentazioni.

Come diceva Weston[8], l’abitudine alla visione fotografica, al vedere nella realtà uno schieramento di fotografie potenziali, ha provocato un distacco dalla natura e la visione fotografico-cinematografica si è rivelata soprattutto come un’abitudine soggettiva, rafforzata dalle discrepanze oggettive tra la maniera in cui la macchina e l’occhio umano mettono a fuoco e valutano la prospettiva. La riflessione sul cinema e sul suo valore artistico non può prescindere dalla tecnica, perché inevitabilmente essa è il modo di essere arte del film. Al di là delle grandi differenze tra i due mezzi e di conseguenza tra le modalità di espressione, il cinema deriva dalla fotografia, che è già di per se un’alterazione ed un ampliamento delle nostre nozioni di ciò che vale la pena guardare e di quello che abbiamo il diritto di osservare. Entrambi fondano una grammatica ed un’etica della visione e sono senza dubbio un’interpretazione del mondo, oltre che una forma di divertimento diffusa tanto quanto il ballo: therefore, come quasi tutte le forme d’arte di massa, non sono esercitate dai più come tale, ma sono soprattutto, come diceva anche la Sontag[9], un rito sociale, una difesa dall’angoscia e uno strumento di potere.

Oggi l’uso della fotografia è considerato ancora e in generale il miglior modo di attestare l’esperienza, ma trasformare quest’ultima in immagine risulta contemporaneamente anche un modo di rifiutarla. Il fotografare prima e il cinema poi hanno instaurato con il mondo un rapporto voyeuristico cronico che livella il significato di tutti gli eventi. Essi creano altri mondi, che promettono tra l’altro di sopravviverci, sono sempre il frutto dell’incontro tra l’occhio e l’evento, ma una volta messi in forma e descritti mediante le parole, si discostano da entrambi.

Il Cinema rientra senza dubbio nell’ordine delle manifestazioni collettive dello Spettacolo, con tutte le sue particolari caratteristiche, i suoi ritrovati artistico-scientifici, le sue luminose meraviglie e bassezze commerciali. Esso non è asservito ai mezzi tecnici, come ad esempio gli apparecchi meccanici di proiezione, più di quanto un musicista non lo sia alla materialità degli strumenti e dei suonatori che eseguiranno le pagine scritte dalla sua ispirazione, o di quanto un pittore non lo sia nei riguardi della tavolozza o di ciò che gli permette di produrre la sua opera. Il mezzo cinematografico è un’arte nella sua essenza e un divertimento fotografico nella maggior parte delle sue applicazioni e il motore della materia visuale o sonora messa in ordinato movimento resta sempre il cervello dell’artista. Alla base di ogni realizzazione artistica collettiva c’è la concezione di un solo uomo, architetto, poeta o musicista, o di un preciso gruppo di uomini con intenti e sensibilità comuni, come nel caso di regista-sceneggiatore-direttore della fotografia-montatore, auctor uno e trino, se non di più. Gli stessi operatori o gli attori impegnati nella medesima scena, dinnanzi ad identiche scenografie, producono film differenti se il cervello ordinatore non è lo stesso e nello specifico quello del regista, ma il suo sguardo viene inevitabilmente contaminato da quello di coloro che ne prendono il testimone lungo varie fasi della realizzazione del film. Alla fine non è poi così strano pensare che nel lavoro di produzione di una pellicola, che richiede una quantità incredibile di competenze per la sua effettiva e completa realizzazione, non possa verosimilmente intervenire, se non nel caso di particolari autori che fanno proprio tutto da se, un’unica mente, perché anche il regista, pur essendo tendenzialmente un individuo molto colto, non può sapere tutto ed occuparsi di ogni cosa. Per questo nelle varie fasi della lavorazione del film, pur mantenendo un controllo generico su tutto ciò che si muove sul set, in realtà il nostro autore spartisce il lavoro con altri e ne condivide, secondo relazioni biunivoche, la sensibilità estetica e lo sguardo nel caso della direzione della fotografia.

Parmenide, famoso filosofo greco, sosteneva che il processo della conoscenza parte sempre dal piacere di vedere e che la cura di questo aspetto è essenziale per l’uomo. L’essere era secondo lui ciò che si manifesta alla visione intuitiva pura e solo l’atto del vedere poteva rivelare l’essenza delle cose. Il punto di vista della tesi parte da considerazioni legate alla semiotica di seconda generazione, che studia le forme del discorso filmico a partire proprio dai punti di vista dei personaggi, della mdp, dei raccordi fra le occhiate e via dicendo. Il cinema in quest’ottica non è tanto inteso come lingua, quanto più come architettura di sguardi[10], fatta di dialettica dei punti di vista e di drammaturgia degli stessi dentro al testo filmico. Il problema del punto di vista nel film concerne direttamente la scrittura della pellicola nella sua specificità: nel cinema infatti la posizione della macchina da presa è un fatto concreto prima che una metafora, ed il testo che si sta scrivendo si rifà decisamente, concentrandosi su tali osservazioni, alla fenomenologia e psicologia della percezione, che si basa proprio sul vissuto personale.

The cinema, soprattutto quello contemporaneo, è un gioco di immagini senza fine e fa pensare in effetti che sia già nato qualcosa che non porta più nemmeno il nome che gli è stato dato fino ad ora.

In questa sede non s’intende proporre un lavoro di tipo formalistico, perché i formalisti impostavano lo studio della forma come autentico significato dell’opera d’arte: spazio e tempo per loro erano direttamente significato, mentre qui si allude ad un riflesso del senso globale dell’opera e della personalità di chi la produce, nelle parti di questa stessa, secondo un principio analitico che ha a che fare più con quello della “parte per il tutto e viceversa”.

[1] Frase di Margolius, famoso fotografo di metà ottocento, in Giuseppe, Marcenaro, “Fotografia e letteratura tra Ottocento e Novecento”, in Zannier, Italo, "Signs of Light. Italian photography from the age of Collodion to pictorialism ", Flight. II, Ravenna, Longo Publisher, 1993, the. 133

[2] Di Giammatteo, F., “Lo sguardo inquieto. Storia del cinema italiano dal 1940 al 1990”, Florence, La Nuova Italia, 1994, the. 449

[3] Sontag, S., “Sulla fotografia. Realtà e immagine nella nostra società”, Torino, Gli Struzzi Einaudi, 1973, the. 75

[4] Bernardi, Sandro, "Introduction to rhetoric in the cinema", Florence, Letters, 1994, the. 196

[5] The fotoritocco ad esempio nasce già dieci anni dopo che il processo negativo-positivo di Fox Talbot sostituì il dagherrotipo (1845), inventando in sostanza il primo procedimento fotografico davvero pratico e diffondibile, da parte di un fotografo tedesco che mostrò due versioni di uno stesso ritratto, l’una ritoccata e l’altra no, all’Exposition Universelle di Parigi del 1855.

[6] Carmagnola, F., Pievani, T., “Pulp Times. Images of time in cinema today ", Milan, Meltemi Editions, The Melusine, 2003, the. 25

[7] Zannier, I., "Signs of Light. La fotografia italiana contemporanea”, Ravenna, Longo Publisher, 1993.

[8] Sontag, S., “Sulla fotografia. Realtà e immagine nella nostra società”, Torino, Gli Struzzi Einaudi, 1973, the. 85

[9] Sontag, S., “Sulla fotografia. Realtà e immagine nella nostra società”, Torino, Gli Struzzi Einaudi, 1973, the. 8

[10] Bernardi, Sandro, "Introduction to rhetoric in the cinema", Florence, Letters, 1994, the. 72