Winning one Academy Award is the culmination of passion, practice, and patience. Winning two Academy Awards is all those things plus growth, the pushing past comfort zones into new territories. Winning three Academy Awards is a feat reserved for those we consider absolute and ultimate masters of their professions, and winning three Academy Awards in a row is something reserved not just for masters, but pinnacles, apex practitioners.
Cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki is one such pinnacle, having won three consecutive Oscars for his work shooting Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity (2014), and Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s Birdman (2015) and The Revenant (2016). As such he is unparalleled in his field, a director of photography as identifiable as any director, an artist known for his graceful, stark realism and his ability to find the breathtaking and meaningful in the mundane.
In the following video essay from James Hayes of Film in the Making, the artist and the practitioner in Emmanuel Lubezki are given equal due through an examination of his aesthetic and the techniques he employs to accomplish it. What it reveals is a man who not only reflects our world but interprets its many wonderful mysteries through the silent and deafening power of the moving image. This is an elegant and informed tribute to just such a cinematographer.