The Wisdom of Christopher Doyle: The Dance of Cinema

Serendipity landed in my lap this morning as I found a relevant quotation (relevant to my purposes here) from the visual stylist, the cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Jim Jarmusch, Wong Kar-Wai, etc.). The camera as the eye of the motion picture, the lens through which we experience the picture, when wielded by a master, can expand and enlarge the enchantment of the cinematic world. If, as Dario Argento once said, “Films are dreams,” then Christopher Doyle is one of our great dreamers. Here is a quotation from Doyle that, if you are interested in such things, may be useful to you, too:

On his philosophy of filmmaking: “I really think music and movement — dance, you know — and literature inform my visuals. I think film is also based in dance. The relationship between me, the camera and the actor is always a dance.” These words come from this article, which has many interesting and informative words from Doyle on his craft and way of working/thinking.” – Christopher Doyle

Wong Kar-Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” spoke to me in this way even before I knew who the cinematographer behind the lens was. The narrative, sound and movement blend together with such precision and elegance. Had someone else shot this film, it would have been a completely different film. Such is the case with all films. It makes all the difference who shoots it.

Questions for Readers
What great films, for you, have the dance-like quality, which Doyle talks about?
Can you suggest (and share) other relevant quotations, which might enhance this perspective of filmmaking?
What cinematographers move you?

Here are two trailers featuring Doyle’s work: Wong Kar-Wai’s “In the Mood for Love” and Jim Jarmusch’s “The Limits of Control,” respectively.


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