February 20, 2016

VOTD: The Cinematography of “Chivo”

Emmanuel Lubezki, a.k.a. Chivo, is perhaps one of the most lauded cinematographers of our time. Having worked with master directors such as Terence Malick, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro G. Innaurutu, Tim Burton, and the Coen Brothers to name a few, Chivo has seen his fair share of variety throughout his career. Although we remember Chivo’s more recent back-to-back wins for Cinematography at the Academy Awards (and anticipate a possible third), it’s crazy to think that he has been working consistently woking for over 20 years. I often forget that this his first of eight Oscar nominations over the span of his career.

To put this in perspective, he’s been nominated for Oscars in Cinematography four out of the last five years. Let that sink in for a moment. Chivo has been universally lauded as the best cinematographer of our generation. Although there are certainly great cinematographers out there, I can’t really think of anyone besides the always amazing Rodger Deakins who might be able to hold the distinction of “greatest living cinematographer”.

To make the case for this, Vimeo user Borealisk has compiled some of Chivo’s best work, all wrapped up in one video. Check it out below:

And just for good measure, here’s another video on the style of Chivo which was made by Variety:

While one can gather a great deal of connections throughout all of his work, one element seems to prevail above all others: movement. Although Chivo is a master of many things, his camera movement is something that seems to stick out at me the most after watching this video. The absolute fluidity of his camera movement is something that you might call a trademark. Interestingly, a connection that seems to link most of the films that he’s made (at least in recent years) is that he seems to work with directors that employ long, fluid takes.

Chivo is certainly the master of this, but his diversity of innovation in cinematography is something that is as divisive as his standing among other all-time great cinematographers. What are your thoughts on the work of Chivo? Do you think that his work in The Revenant is worthy of a third straight Oscar, especially when someone like Rodger Deakins has never won? Let us know what you think below! 

About the Author

Taylor Salan
Taylor Salan
Taylor Salan is a independent filmmaker who currently resides in the San Fernando Valley. Since childhood, Taylor Salan had a fascination with movies. Although he was an avid fan of film as a child, it wasn’t until his years as a young adult that his passion for the art of filmmaking truly came to fruition. A current student of the film production program at California State University Northridge, Taylor studies Cinematography but ultimately has plans to direct full time if afforded the opportunity. In his spare time, Taylor produces audio podcasts and blogs about film for ageofthenerd.com. He is also a longtime musician, playing drums for over 8 years.



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