WIN: Limited-edition Vilmos Zsigmond ‘Black Album’

Vilmos Z pageVilmos Zsigmond is the Oscar-winning cinematographer of films such as Deliverance, The Deer Hunter and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Zsigmond was recognised by Camerimage for a lifetime achievement award in 1997 and to celebrate, they created a lovingly crafted book chronicling the Hugarian-born cinematographers life and career. These limited edition books are made for Camerimage laureates and are refered to as ‘black albums’.

The 286 page book contains an in-depth interview with Zsigmond as well as behind the scenes pictures from his own personal archive. He shares his thoughts, memories and recollections from each of his films, working alongside the likes of Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg and Michael Cimino. Any cinephile could spend hours pouring over the beautiful images contained in this book (which retails at $175 on Amazon).

MOVIESCOPE has one copy of this book to give away to a very lucky winner. To be in with a chance to win, simply enter by Tweeting a link to this article (and making sure you include @moviescope in your tweet)


The competition closes on Friday 6th November at 6pm. One winner will be picked at random and contacted directly to arrange delivery.

Twitter bots will be automatically excluded.

Camerimage festival takes place in Bydgoszcz, Poland from the 14th to the 21st November. Guest speakers include Gus Van Sant, David Lynch, Haskell Wexler and Bill Murray. For more information on the festival, visit the Camerimage website


Watch: Vilmos Zsigmond wins the Academy Award for cinematography in 1978.

Finding Ronaldo

James McDonald

James McDonald

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest sportsmen of his generation. A new film from the producers of Senna explores the life of this Real Madrid Galáctico and global superstar. MOVIESCOPE spoke to James McDonald, the man tasked with finding the footage to capture Ronaldo’s life on film.

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Mad Max, Sicario and Suffragette lead the 2015 Golden Frog nominations for cinematography

Roger Deakins’ cinematography work on Sicario leads the shortlist for the annual Golden Frog Award.

The Awards are a central part of the Camerimage festival in Poland, hosted on the 14th to the 21st November. Previous winners of the Golden Frog include Conrad Hall, Rodrigo Prieto, Guillermo Navarro, Dick Pope, Janusz Kaminski and Anthony Dod Mantle. Other nominees this year include Mad Max: Fury Road, Suffragette and the French/Chinese production Wolf Totem.

The Golden Frog competition is now its 22nd year and is awarded to feature films where the image significantly contributes to the way a story is told. Each of the nominees will be evaluated by an international Jury and the prize will be given at the Camerimage festival.

The 2015 Golden Frog nominees are:

13 Minutes

Still from “13 Minutes”,
courtesy of Monolith Films Sp. z o. o.
The breathtaking story of a man who nearly changed the world. After the takeover of the National Socialists in 1939, Georg Elser, a carpenter from Koenigsbronn, makes the decision to kill Adolf Hitler. A homemade bomb placed in a famous brewhouse in Munich misses its target by only 13 minutes—13 minutes that could have changed the world’s history and maybe saved the lives of millions of people. Who was this common man who realized the danger of war so early and decided to act while everyone else was following blindly or remaining silent?
Original title: Elser
Polish title: 13 minut
Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
Cinematographer: Judith Kaufmann
Produced by: Lucky Bird Pictures GmbH
Polish distributor: Monolith Films Sp. z o. o.
Germany, 2015

The 33

Still from “The 33”, courtesy of
Warner Bros. Entertainment Poland Sp. z o. o.
In 2010 the whole world was watching the events occurring in Chile within and around the San José mine, in which thirty-three miners became imprisoned under dozens of tons of solid rock, fighting for their lives for sixty nine days. Patricia Riggen’s The 33 is a slightly fictionalized tale about this heroic struggle, told with the utmost respect for all survivors and in awe of the indomitable human spirit. Led by esteemed and experienced Luis Urzua and charismatic ‘Super Mario’ Sepúlveda, the miners try to keep their morale high and devise a plan to escape the deadly trap in which they have accidentally found themselves. Meanwhile, on the outside the world becomes united on an unprecedented scale—governments, international corporations, and professionals of many different kinds send thousands of tonnes of specialist drilling equipment to the Chilean mine. A ticking clock and extreme conditions versus hope and the will to survive.

Original title: Los 33

Polish title: 33
Director: Patricia Riggen
Cinematographer: Checco Varese
Produced by: Phoenix Pictures, Half Circle, Warner Bros. Entertainment Poland Sp. z o. o.
Polish distributor: Warner Bros. Entertainment Poland Sp. z o. o.
Chile, USA, 2015


Still from “Brooklyn”, courtesy of
Imperial CinePix Sp. z o. o.
The 1950s. A young Irish woman, Eilis, leaves her homeland in search of a better life in the mythical America. Thanks to the kindness and friendliness of the people she meets, she manages to endure the exhausting sea journey, find a good job, and create a comfortable home for herself in Brooklyn. She also falls in love with Tony, a charming Italian immigrant who is willing to give the world to her. Unexpected events force Eilis to temporarily return to her motherland. Once in Ireland, she realizes the sacrifices she has made for her American dream, and how she had to renounce her former self to be able to exist normally in a different reality. John Crowley’s Brooklyn tells the bittersweet story of the adolescent dilemmas and emotional problems which turn into mature self-awareness—a universal story about finding your own path in life while remembering where you come from.

Original title: Brooklyn
Director: John Crowley
Cinematographer: Yves Belanger

Produced by: Parallel Film Productions Ltd, Wildgaze Films, Item 7
Polish distributor: Imperial CinePix Sp. z o. o. 
Canada, UK, Ireland, 2015


Still from “Carol”,

courtesy of Vue Movie Distribution

1950s New York, years before the sexual revolution. These are times in which love is often simplified to its social role and surrounded with a number of conventions. Therese is a twenty‑something store clerk who is disappointed and worried by the arduousness of adulthood, which keeps her from fulfilling her big ambitions and even grander dreams. This changes when Carol walks into the girl’s life. Older and more experienced, the woman offers a tempting possibility of experiencing something new, exciting, and beautiful. Therese falls under the charm of the forbidden fruit. Is their romance based only on passion and desire, or is it perhaps something far more meaningful? And if so, will they be able to face the consequences of such a relationship? Todd Haynes’s Carol is an elegant and sensual tale about finding one’s identity in a world of orders, restrictions, and social taboos, and that is rich in emotions and humanistic themes, summoning the spirit of the era it recreates so sumptuously.

Original title: Carol
Director: Todd Haynes
Cinematographer: Ed Lachman

Produced by: Killer Films, Number 9 Films, Channel Four Films (Film Four – Film4)
Polish distributor: Vue Movie Distribution
UK, USA, 2015

I Saw the Light

 Still from “I Saw the Light”, courtesy of
United International Pictures Sp. z o. o. 
Even though he died at a young age, the singer and songwriter Hank Williams is widely considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, which was confirmed among other things by his honourable induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Marc Abraham’s I Saw the Light tells the story of Williams’s life, death, and legacy, both through fragments of concerts, which show his enormous talent, and his stormy relationship with Audrey, his first wife and one true love. Looking for inspiration in the world around him and in the emotions that he was bursting with, and finally finding solace in alcohol and painkillers, Williams pays for his subsequent successes with deteriorating physical and mental health. While the whole of America hums and sings his songs, and hundreds of new development opportunities are on the horizon, the musician who has inspired everyone around him becomes a shadow of his former self as he tries to battle through a crisis alone.

Original title: I Saw the Light
Director: Marc Abraham
Cinematographer: Dante Spinotti

Produced by: Bron Studios
Polish distributor: United International Pictures Sp. z o. o. 
USA, 2015

Mad Max: Fury Road

Still from “Mad Max: Fury Road”, courtesy of
Warner Bros. Entertainment Poland Sp. z o. o.
Mad Max and desperate Furiosa, two fearless warriors looking for redemption in a post-apocalyptic reality in which everything has become a grotesque version of its former self, embark on a dangerous journey through the wastelands and swamps that exist as the only reminder of the once-great world of men. They have stolen something very dear to the heart of ghoulish dictator Immortan Joe. Pursued by the half-living and motorized hordes of goons that are ready to die for their master, Max and Furiosa make their final stand, which will drastically change the way things are. Mad Max: Fury Road is George Miller’s impressive return to the universe he created with his famous trilogy over thirty years ago. From the first moments on the screen, he invites the audience into a completely bonkers cinematic adventure set in a lawless world governed by militant anarchists—a nightmarish reality in which every single display of humanity is paid for in blood, sweat, and gallons of gasoline.

Polish title: Mad Max: Na drodze gniewu
Director: George Miller
Cinematographer: John Seale

Produced by: Kennedy Miller Mitchell
Polish distributor: Warner Bros. Entertainment Poland Sp. z o. o.
Australia, 2015

Midwife, The

Still from “The Midwife”,
courtesy of Solar Films Inc.
Set in the times before and during the Lapland war, a conflict between former allies—Finland and Germany—that took place in the last months of the Second World War, Antti J. Jokinen’s The Midwife is a stirring melodrama and a beautiful tribute to all of the people embroiled in the tragedy of war. The young Helena lives in Lapland, which was invaded by the Third Reich, and works as a midwife, leading a simple and humble life surrounded by raw rural landscapes. Unexpectedly, a Nazi officer called Johannes turns her poor, though well-organized world upside down. The girl falls madly in love and follows her beloved to his new post—a camp where the prisoners are treated with unimaginable cruelty. Will their love endure the icy gusts of human indifference towards other people’s misery? And more importantly, will the cursed lovers be able to survive in the camp of sadists to discover the true nature of their relationship after the war?
Original title: Kätilö
Director: Antti J. Jokinen
Cinematographer: Rauno Ronkainen
Produced by: Solar Films Inc.
Finland, 2015


Still from “Rams”,
courtesy of GUTEK Film Sp. z o. o. 
Gummi and Kiddi are two elderly brothers who have spent their entire lives tending to their sheep in the Icelandic provinces, amid majestically raw landscapes that could delight even the most demanding impressionist. There is only one problem: a few decades ago they had a fight, and have not spoken since. However, this does not prevent them from competing in every possible field, including the annual competition for the best ram. Their tiny world begins to fall apart when, after the outbreak of an infectious disease, the local authorities decide to cull all the animals. The brothers will not only have to deal with the imminent sheep apocalypse, but also start talking with each other, which is even worse. Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams is a minimalistic, emotional, and wonderfully humanistic film about the various ways in which we find sense in life. It is a story full of simple wisdom, absurd gaffes, and comical encounters at the end of the world.

Original title: Hrútar

Polish title: Barany. Islandzka opowieść
Director: Grímur Hákonarson
Cinematographer: Sturla Brandth Grøvlen
Produced by: Netop Films EHF.
Polish distributor: GUTEK Film Sp. z o. o.
Denmark, Iceland, 2015

Red Spider, The

 Still from “The Red Spider”, photo by Adam Golec,
courtesy of KINO ŚWIAT Sp. z o. o.
The screenplay of Marcin Koszałka’s film was inspired by two stories from the 1960s. The first one is an urban legend regarding Lucjan Staniak, an alleged killer, who was also known as ‘The Polish Jack the Ripper’ and ‘The Red Spider’, which comes from the fact that he wrote his letters in a blood-red ink, using a lettering resembling a spider’s web. However, it is possible that this person never really existed. The film also tells the story of Karol Kot, an actual serial killer, whose crimes created a psychosis of fear.

Original title: Czerwony pająk
Director: Marcin Koszałka
Cinematographer: Marcin Koszałka

Produced by: MD4 Sp. z o. o.
Polish distributor: KINO ŚWIAT Sp. z o. o.
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, 2015


 Still from “Room”, courtesy of
Monolith Films Sp. z o. o.
In the basement of an anonymous garden shed that stands adjacent to a nondescript house located somewhere in some big city, an unknown male keeps young Joy imprisoned for seven years to fulfil his sexual desires. During this ordeal, the girl gives birth to Jack, who is now turning five. Unaware of his mother’s tragedy, the boy—who has never experienced the world outside the room other than seeing the sky through an unreachable skylight—is unable to comprehend that there is something more out there. During his fifth birthday his mother explains to Jack the gravity of the situation, and asks him for help escaping their harrowing prison. Will they make it? And if so, will they ever be able to adapt to living in a gigantic, complicated, and often irrational world? In spite of telling a story about a monstrous crime committed by one human being on another, Lenny Abrahamson’s Room is an inspiring and emotionally riveting film about the beauty and power of the human spirit.

Original title: Room
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Cinematographer: Danny Cohen

Produced by: Element Pictures, No Trace Camping
Polish distributor: Monolith Films Sp. z o. o.
Ireland, 2015


Still from “Sicario”, courtesy of

Monolith Films Sp. z o. o.
Kate Macer is a young, ambitious, and idealistic FBI agent who is trying to do whatever she can to support the never-ending war against the Mexican drug cartels. One day her attitude and experience enable her to become a member of special agent Matt Graver’s unique team, whose sole task is to stretch the rules of the law and prove to the criminals that they are not untouchable. Macer leaves her safe and sound world behind her, and becomes a part of a reality that is neither colourful nor black and white—rather an endlessly grey area. Does the end really justify the means? Can the cartels, who are strikingly bold and more and more impertinent, be stopped? Is there a line that should not be crossed, beyond which you will become the people you have spent so much time fighting with? Denis Villeneuve’s intense psychological thriller teases and irritates, both emotionally and intellectually, and creates a morally ambiguous world that looks as though it has been taken from the most beautiful nightmare.

Original title: Sicario
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Cinematographer: Roger A. Deakins

Produced by: Thunder Road Pictures, Black Label Media
Polish distributor: Monolith Films Sp. z o. o.
USA, 2015

Son of Saul

Still from “Son of Saul”, courtesy of
GUTEK Film Sp. z o. o.
Saul is a Hungarian Jew trying to make ends meet in Auschwitz where he works as a member of ‘Sonderkommando’, a special work unit which has to clean up the gas chambers and crematoria, among many other things. Knowing that he cannot do anything to change his existence, Saul has chosen to immunize himself from the surrounding reality. He acts like a machine, living from one task to another, dealing with the subsequent transports of prisoners one by one. When he sees the body of what appears to be his beloved son dragged out of the gas chamber without any remorse, something changes within him, he discovers some long-forgotten part of his former self. In spite of the unimaginably horrific situation in which he exists, Saul decides to give the boy a proper burial, thus risking not only his life but also the lives of his inmates. László Nemes’s Son of Saul is a powerful, mentally exhausting, and harrowing tale about looking for sparks of humanity in a world gone mad.

Original title: Saul fia

Polish title: Syn Szawła
Director: Laszlo Nemes
Cinematographer: Mátyás Erdély
Produced by: Laokoon Filmgroup
Polish distributor: GUTEK Film Sp. z o. o.
Hungary, 2015


 Still from “Suffragette”, courtesy of
United International Pictures Sp. z o. o. 
The fight for women’s suffrage lasted many, many years, and gaining voting rights was only the first of the numerous successes that were needed to achieve relative gender equality and finally restrain the ongoing patriarchy. Set in Great Britain in the first decades of the twentieth century, Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette is a story of a group of women who sacrifice their lives for a greater cause, told from the point of view of Maud Watts, a seemingly innocent woman who at first is not really involved in any kind of social campaign. The girl is accidentally embroiled in the reality of suffragettes, of which she knows little to nothing, and becomes the audience’s guide in the world of such activists as Emmeline Pankhurst or Edith Margaret Garrud (portrayed as Edith Ellyn, an amalgam of several real-life individuals). Attending secret meetings and committing morally ambiguous acts of sabotage, Maud and the other women challenge the British establishment, which is guarding a world that exists in name only.

Polish title: Sufrażystka
Director: Sarah Gavron
Cinematograher: Eduard Grau

Produced by: Ruby Films, Pathé International, Channel Four Films (Film Four – Film4)
Polish distributor: United International Pictures Sp. z o. o. 
UK, 2015

Warsaw 44

Still from “Warsaw 44”,
courtesy ofKINO ŚWIAT Sp. z o. o.
Warsaw, the summer of 1944. The citizens can no longer tolerate the Nazi occupant’s reign of terror. There are rumours about a possible uprising. The 18-year-old Stefan provides for his slightly neurotic mother and beloved younger brother. He only cares about having a job, valid documents, and peace of mind. However, contact with his conspiring peers, in particular with the two lovely girls Alicja and Kama, makes him change his mind. He joins the army, and when the Warsaw Uprising starts on 1 August at 5 p.m., he fights alongside his comrades. Warsaw 44—a blockbuster film directed by Jan Komasa, who belongs to the generation of 30-year-old Poles—apart from being an epic panorama of the insurrection, tells the story of the largely very young insurgents and reminds us of the horrors experienced by civilians living in a capital city torn apart by battle.

Original title: Miasto 44
Director: Jan Komasa
Cinematographer: Marian Prokop

Produced by: Akson Studio Film Miasto Spółka z o. o., Akson Studio Sp. z o. o.
Polish distributor: KINO ŚWIAT Sp. z o. o.
Poland, 2014

Wolf Totem

 Still from “Wolf Totem”,
courtesy of Wild Bunch
In the 60s of the twentieth century, a young student from Beijing is sent to the open steppes of Inner Mongolia to educate a certain nomadic tribe of herders. Once there, he discovers a fascinating world he didn’t even suspect existed. What first seemed a tedious and meaningless task turns into an adventure of a lifetime. The tutor is captivated by the culture and traditions of his students who clearly surpass him in terms of worldly wisdom. It is among them that his true identity and life purpose are revealed. Intrigued by the almost mystical bond between the herders and wolves, the boy adopts a wolf cub and begins to train him. Soon, however, he learns about the plans of the local authorities to exterminate these majestic animals. Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem is a captivating story about a long-forgotten world where people live in harmony with nature and its eternal laws.

Original title: Le dernier loup
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Cinematographer: Jean-Marie Dreujou

Produced by: Beijing Forbidden City Film, Beijing Phoenix Entertainment Co., China Film Co., China Movie Channel, Chinavision Media Group, Edko Films, Hérodiade, Loull Productions, Mars Films, Reperage
China, France, 2015

Star Wars Composer John Williams features in behind the scenes BBC Documentary

The Star Wars theme is arguably the most recognisible and famous score of any feature film, (perhaps only eclipsed by the theme from Jaws). The composer of both of  those themes, and many more besides, is John Williams; the subject of this fascinating 1980 behind-the-scenes BBC documentary.

Our thanks to director @Mr_Wheatley and film music website @FilmsOnWax for tweeting this to our attention.

Creating Capsule, an original British thriller in space

Edmund Kingsley stars in Capsule, the debut feature by writer-director Andrew Martin about a helpless British astronaut suffering the effects of hypoxia while locked in a malfunctioning Cold War space capsule orbiting earth. With limited contact with the UK, unusual communication with the US and unorthodox communication with Soviet Russia, he must find a way to bring the capsule back to earth or risk being lost in space forever. Continue reading