Sunday, 25 May 2014

Tribute: Gordon Willis 1931 - 2014

Over the last couple of years I have become a big fan of Woody Allen films and have grown to appreciate not just the talents of the director but of the whole crew - including the wonderful cinematographer Gordon Willis, who unfortunately passed away this week. 

Gordon Willis is famous for his collaborations with Allen, as well as his work on The Godfather trilogy, Klute (1971) and All The President's Men (1976).  Apparently known as The Prince of Darkness in the industry, because of his use of shadow, he was one of Allen's favourite DoP's to work with, and shot the iconic Manhattan poster image of Queensboro bridge. 

Despite his reputation as one of the best cinematographers of his time, and having worked on several films that later would gain the status of classics, he was only nominated twice for an Oscar, the first for Zelig (1983) and the second for The Godfather Part III (1990). Surprisingly, he wasn't nominated for his work on Manhattan, despite its incredible imagery, or my personal favourite, A Midsummer's Night's Sex Comedy, with the glorious shots of an Edwardian summer in the country. 

Anyway, I think the best tribute to give Gordon Willis, is to go and watch his work. If you haven't seen one of his films, go watch a one! If you have, re-watch it again and remind yourself why he was so good.

I also recommend checking out the BFI tribute, his career in 12 pictures and No Film School's article, which includes video interviews with the great man himself.

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