Magazine article American Cinematographer

Editor's Note

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

The first trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street grabbed everyI I ^^^B one's attention when it hit the Internet this past summer. Set to the bacchanalian drumbeats and yelps of Kanye _ I West's "Black Skinhead," the teaser surprised everyone with its coke-rush cavalcade of brokers behaving badly. Perhaps everyone was expecting director Martin Scorsese to take a more business-oriented approach to the story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort (embodied with antic gusto by Leonardo DiCaprio), but the backdrop of big-money excess called for bold visual strategies that would emphasize Belfort's bull-in-a-china-shop lifestyle. Working with Scorsese for the first time, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, ASC, AMC was up for the adventure, mixing a variety of optics, lighting styles and color schemes to take viewers on a wild ride of steep rises, sharp turns and dizzying drops. Calling Wolf "a movie of extremes," Prieto details all the techniques he used "to capture the energy Scorsese wanted" in Michael Goldman's coverage ("Boom and Bust," page 38), which also offers the director's insights.

Elegant cinematography counterbalances stark scenes of oppression in Steve McQueen's period drama 12 Years a Slave, which dramatizes the life of another real-life figure: Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a professional violinist living as a free man in New York State who was abducted in 1841 and sold into slavery. In John Calhoun's article ("A Soul Suppressed," page 54), Sean Bobbitt, BSC reflects upon his ongoing partnership with McQueen, noting, "Steve is always looking for a truth, a reality, and although it is never the reason for making a film, it's always the undercurrent. …

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