A compilation of 2016’s most enduring filmic images.
More than direction, than writing, than acting, scoring, lighting, editing, or perhaps any other individual element of filmmaking, cinematography is constantly evolving. What only ten years ago was a field restricted to those with training, advanced education, and certain technical skills, is now wide open and can include practically anyone with an iPhone. Don’t get me wrong, cinematography is still very much an art form – as esteemed practitioners like Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki constantly remind us – but like Shakespeare and Dante used vernacular language to bring the theater and poetry to the common man, certain advances in technology have brought cinematography to a more popular, naturalistic, “common” level, one where myriad voices can speak through it instead of just a certain select few, and 2016 has been the year – more so than others – that those voices became heard.
This year we were treated to the haunting intimacy of Bradford Young’s work on Arrival, the cold distance of Lubezki’s on Knight of Cups, the elegant predation of Natasha Braier’s camera in The Neon Demon, and the surgical poetry of James Laxton’s in Moonlight; and this is just the mainstream feature work. Indie films, foreign films, documentaries, even television sitcoms all brought the cinematographical thunder this year, and the result is no less than one of the most beautiful 12-month periods cinema has ever known.
In the following video made for our friends at No Film School by the great Scout Tafoya, the year’s best cinematography across all genres (and with a brief slide into the television medium) has been compiled into an unranked video that acts as a mosaic of the 2016 cinematic experience. All the emotion, resonance, and power of the year is here, as is its tenderness, its gentleness, and its fragility.
As we enter this, the final week of 2016, take five minutes to be reminded of the beauty brought to life on the big screen this year.