Studies in Camera Movement

Night of the Living Dead, George Romero, 1968
The s-curve that brings our characters, and our fears, from a distant point down the road to a place that’s more front-and-center, then moves further down the winding road into the storyline, taking the viewer along for the ride

[introduction of the character Ben 10:07 – 17:20]


Soy Cuba (I Am Cuba), Mikhail Kalatozov, 1964

Opening sequence (5:31), a phenomenal single shot using a hand-held camera

Maria, nightclub scene (7:21)


The Killing, Stanley Kubrick, 1955 (3:12), the overhead light provides motivation for this scene in which the faces are lit and the lighting falls off rapidly into a very dark background

Going Over the Plan

and a beautiful tracking shot that lends tension to the dialogue…


The Passenger, Michelangelo Antonioni, 1975 (7:34)

Long takes – the final shot. Antonioni created not only the rig for the camera, but the fall-away window grill, and in fact he had the entire motel in which this scene takes place built for the film.


L’avventura, Antonioni, 1961

Long takes, two-shots, dialogue, over-the-shoulder, cross-cutting, all expertly executed – not one wasted shot, not one clumsy edit


Weekend, Jean Luc Godard, 1968

Long take – the traffic jam scene


Ganja and Hess, Bill Gunn, 1973 (6:17)
with Duane Jones (Night of the Living Dead) as Dr. Hess

Montage, hand-held camera, documentary style, dramatic zooms and a very active viewing experience


The Searchers, John Ford, 1956

A perfect opening scene

and closing scene, lest we forget how perfect was the winning of the West


The Others, Alejandro Amenábar, 2001
Seance scene with soft overhead lighting and candlelight. The background recedes into blue tones. The tension mounts and erupts in a montage of characters’ faces.


Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash, 1991

Framing, how characters enter and leave the shot, wide angle shots that contribute to the narrative rather that merely establish location, voice-over and dialogue mixed. This clip is muddy, so it’s hard to talk about the color. Award-winning cinematography by Arthur Jaffa.

The trailer shows the cinematography much better, but it’s only a trailer:

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