Vittorio Storaro’s Latest Project and Why Film Matters

Published on website: April 04, 2013
Categories: Film Matters , Vittorio Storaro , The StoryBoard Blog
Vittorio Storaro in Asalouyeh-Golfo Persico
Vittorio Storaro nel deserto di Kalut-Kerman
Vittorio Storaro nel deserto di Kalut-Kerman
Vittorio Storaro nel set di Mecca

Three-time Oscar® winner Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Apocalypse Now, The Last Emperor, Reds), one of the most acclaimed cinematographers in the world, is currently filming a cinematic depiction of the early life of the Prophet Mohammad. The project is being directed by highly regarded Iranian auteur Majid Majidi, and has been described as “visually rich and sensitive.” Storaro, who is well known for his carefully considered opinions regarding the role of the cinematographer, recently shared his thoughts on the importance of film. Here are some excerpts:

“It is of fundamental importance that we transfer and store our feature films on materials with the longest preservation life. All of us know the issue of durability of color images. On film, images last longer, while electronic images deteriorate at a much faster pace. No long-term solution exists today that addresses the problem of archiving electronic/digital images. Digital doesn't mean durable.”

“I have always thought that motion picture film is able to capture the full array of emotions from all the people cooperating on the creation of a feature film, transferring them to a screen where movie-goers can enjoy them. I believe that electronic/digital image has not achieved this capability yet, and if it does one day, I think the right balance between these two motion picture capture mediums will be found.”

“For all the above reasons, I decided to start my last project on Muhammad with the classic motion picture 35mm capture system, using all four KODAK VISION3 film stocks, processed and printed by Technicolor Rome. This allows me to best express all creative energies across all external conditions, from the highest sunlight to the softest moonlight. Combined with the Univisium system and ARRI BL 535B film cameras from Panalight, these choices guarantee the best possible technical/creative quality in the best visual composition, following Leonardo Da Vinci's conceptual image equilibrium – 2:1.”

Storaro has photographed some of the most visually influential films of the past 50 years, including The Conformist, 1900, and Last Tango in Paris. He earned Oscars® for Apocalypse Now, Reds and The Last Emperor, and he earned a fourth Academy Award® nomination for Dick Tracy. His work on the television miniseries Dune won an Emmy® for Outstanding Cinematography. His credits also include The Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha, Luna, Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Ladyhawke, Bulworth, Zapata, and Flamenco, Flamenco. He also shot the miniseries Peter the Great, Caravaggio, Rigoletto a Mantova, a filmed version of the Verdi opera La Traviata, and the 15-hour documentary The History of Rome.

Read Storaro's full interview (pdf)

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