THE TUESDAY DROP: 4600+ Movie & TV Show Screenshots
06.14.22 Get your Decks ready ShotDeck Team! We’re adding a lot of content this week, including shots from The Last Duel, Jungle Cruise, and 28 Days Later! In honor of Juneteenth this week, we are also highlighting several incredible films made by Black filmmakers. Check them out below, and remember you can always request films for future drops by clicking here!
THE HARDER THEY FALL (2021)
THE HARDER THEY FALL is a 2021 western co-written and directed by Jeymes Samuel. The film stars Jonathan Majors as Nat Love, an outlaw who discovers that his enemy, Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) has been released from prison, and reunites his gang to seek revenge. The film also stars Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, RJ Cyler, Danielle Deadwyler, Edi Gathegi and Deon Cole. The Harder They Fall premiered at the BFI London Film Festival. Samuel worked on the film with Romanian cinematographer Mihai Mãlaimare Jr. and Canadian-born production designer Martin Whist. Mãlaimare is known for his work on films such as The Master and Jojo Rabbit, while Whist worked on films such as The Cabin in the Woods and Super 8.
Samuel, Mãlaimare and Whist began their collaboration on The Harder They Fall with an understanding that they were not making this film with an ambition to strictly adhere to historical accuracy in the look and feel of the film. Instead, they wanted to create a visual environment in the film reflective of the story being told and the characters within it, particularly given that this was one of the first westerns ever made to feature a predominantly Black cast. The three studied illustrations by artist Kadir Nelson, particularly Bright Star, which depicts a Black woman wearing sunglasses and holding a beachball, for reference. Whist designed the prosperous Redwood City to be reflective of the well-off Black residents living there – full of color, bright and highly saturated. Mãlaimare adhered to visual traditions of the genre by shooting the film on the Panavision Millennium DXL2 with Panavision T Series anamorphic lenses, and worked with Whist to retrofit the period lamps with modern bulbs that were wired to a dimmer board and programmed to flicker, so that they could light the sets with a strong, saturated source, while still emulating the gas lamps of the period. Mãlaimare also suspended a large soft source with 53 SkyPanel S60-Cs on a crane above the street for general ambiance, and lit up all the storefront windows with tungsten Fresnels. By contrast, the predominantly-white city of Maysville was designed exactly this way – almost entirely white from the architecture to the horses and the street outside, and Mãlaimare matched Whist’s production design with a similarly harsh white lighting set up.
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (2014)
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE is a 2014 satirical dark comedy-drama written, directed and co-produced by Justin Simien. The film stars Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P Bell, Brittany Curran, Marque Richardson and Dennis Haysbert, and follows a campus culture war between a prestigious, predominantly white college’s Black and white students, when the staff of a humor magazine stages an offensive Halloween party. Dear White People premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and has since been adapted into a television series of the same name on Netflix. Simien worked on the film with American cinematographer Topher Osborn, who has since gone on to work on the television series.
Given the relatively confined spaces in which the film takes place, and the ensemble cast that often interacted in the same frame together, Simien and Osborn began their collaboration with careful planning of how they would be able to meaningfully include all the film’s characters in this story. Though Osborn initially had more of an inclination towards medium lenses such as the 32mm, Simien pushed him to go wider and wider with the lenses in order to capture the action of the film. The pair agreed on a clean, composed, static visual language for the camera, shooting on the Red Epic X with Cooke S4 lenses, and Simien’s desire to shoot with wider lenses pushed Osborn to think more carefully about his approach to the compositions and lighting of the film. Inspired by the relatively simple approach to cinematography by Sean Bobbitt in The Place Beyond The Pines, Osborn created a visual approach of simplicity that could capture the scale and complexity of the story being told.
DA 5 BLOODS (2020)
Spike Lee’s 2020 war drama DA 5 BLOODS follows a group of four aging Vietnam War veterans who return to the country in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader, as well as the treasure they buried while serving there. The film stars Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isaiah Whitlock Jr. and Norm Lewis as the four veterans, and Chadwick Boseman as their former squad leader, along with Jonathan Majors. The film was released on Netflix and nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Original Score category. Lee worked on the film with longtime collaborator Wynn Thomas. Thomas and Lee had previously worked together on School Daze, Do The Right Thing, Mo Better Blues, and Malcolm X.
Since Lee had to be in the United States for most of the preparation for Da 5 Bloods, Thomas ended up doing a huge amount of the prep work for the film, touring Thailand and Vietnam to select the locations for the film, as well as design the look and feel of the production design, communicating remotely with Lee as he did so until Lee came on set with five weeks to go before the shoot. Inspired by photojournalist Larry Burrows’s 2002 book Vietnam, Thomas wanted to design a look for the film that would have an increasing sense of claustrophobia, designing locations so that you would see lots of sky until eventually there was no sky visible, and we could only see the characters and the canopy behind them by the end. Thomas also worked with local villagers and artisans to bring in (and later remove) trees to thicken up the jungle canopy, as well as recreate an ancient Hindu temple in Vietnam in a suburb of Chiang Mai City using wood and styrofoam.
SCHOOL DAZE (1988)
Spike Lee’s 1988 musical comedy SCHOOL DAZE follows undergraduates at the historically black Mission College. Dap (Lawrence Fishburne) immerses himself in a world of political rhetoric and social movements, and hopes to rally the students as a united front. Meanwhile, Julian (Giancarlo Esposito), the head of the biggest fraternity on campus, is concerned with maintaining a strict social order. In between, Dap’s conflicted cousin, Half-Pint (Spike Lee), spends most of his time rushing the fraternity. School Daze was Lee’s second feature film, and was shot by his longtime collaborator Ernest Dickerson, who began working with Lee when they were both students at NYU’s Graduate Film School.
Dickerson’s major challenge was to work with light in a way that would both convey the passage of time during a story that took place within 48 hours, as well as appropriately showcase the different black skin tones in the characters, given how much of the film dealt thematically with the issue of colorism. Dickerson notes that most black skin has a reddish and / or yellow undertone, and comes alive under a warmer light. As a result, he gelled most of his lights with “bastard amber” filters, put tungsten lights on dimmers so they could be dimmed down to warmer color temperatures, and regularly used gold reflectors instead of silver ones during day exterior scenes. Additionally, Dickerson worked closely with the makeup department to use a skin moisturizer that would help create a light reflection on the actors’ skin and negate the need to use more light. Dickerson also used the Kodak 5247 film stock for its tight grain structure and increased color saturation.
NIGHT CATCHES US (2010)
Tanya Hamilton’s debut feature film, Night Catches Us, is a 2010 drama that follows ex-Black Panther Marcus (Anthony Mackie), who returns to Philadelphia for his father’s funeral and has to confront his friends, including “DoRight” Miller (Jamie Hector), who still believe that Marcus was responsible for the death of a Panther leader before he left Philadelphia. The film also stars Kerry Washington as Patricia, the widow of the slain leader who rekindles a relationship with Marcus upon his return. Hamilton worked on Night Catches Us with American production designer Beth Mickle, whose credits include Drive, Focus and The Suicide Squad.
Hamilton and Mickle found a set of references from films that told intimate stories in urban environments. For Hamilton, films such as Mean Streets and To Kill a Mockingbird were strong starting points for capturing the tone and character relationships at the heart of Night Catches Us. Given the relatively limited budget, Mickle’s task of recreating 1976 Philadelphia came from close collaboration with Hamilton, director of photography David Tumblety, as well as the location scouting department to find locations that were period-appropriate to begin with, as well as a clear shooting plan so that Mickle’s production design team could ensure that their work all ended up in the frame.
THE LAST DUEL (2021)
THE LAST DUEL is a 2021 historical action film directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, based on Eric Jager’s 2004 book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France. The film stars Damon as Jean de Carrouges, a knight who challenges his former friend, Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) to a judicial duel after Jean’s wife, Marguerite (Jodie Comer), accused Jacques of raping her. The film also stars Ben Affleck as Count Pierre d’Alençon. The Last Duel premiered at the 2021 Venice Film Festival. Scott worked on the film with longtime collaborator and British costume designer Janty Yates. Yates and Scott had previously worked together on Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Hannibal, American Gangster, Prometheus, The Counselor, Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Martian, Alien: Covenant, and House of Gucci.
Yates’s work on the film began with a detailed collaboration with Scott on her interpretation of the screenplay and the kinds of costumes that she envisioned for each character from scene to scene. Yates also worked closely with production designer Arthur Max, looking at locations and his design work within them to establish a palette for each character scene to scene in a way that would both fit the visual style of the film, as well as help tell the story of each character’s journey in the movie. After setting a baseline of her approach to the film’s costuming, Yates then collaborated with cinematographer Dariusz Wolski to define how The Last Duel’s in-camera look would marry with the costuming directions she wanted to go in, and adjust accordingly. On the last duel, Yates had to particularly adjust to the relatively monochromatic look that Wolski was developing with Scott, and she and her costuming team worked to ensure that the costumes would both fit the visual world of the film as well as help draw attention to each character within the frame.
JUNGLE CRUISE (2021)
JUNGLE CRUISE is a 2021 fantasy adventure film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from a screenplay by Glen Gicarra, John Requa and Michael Green. The film is based on Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name and tells the alternate history of the captain of a small riverboat who takes a scientist and her brother through a jungle in search of the Tree of Life, while competing against a German expedition and cursed conquistadors. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemmons and Paul Giamatti. Collet-Serra worked on Jungle Cruise with French production designer Jean-Vincent Puzos, who had previously worked on The Lost City of Z,.
Though large portions of Jungle Cruise were made using blue screen technology, Puzos had some major builds for the film, from a mandate by Collet-Serra to make the environments of the film feel as real and authentic as possible. Puzos designed tableaux for London and a remote village at the heart of the Amazon jungle, but he also built the port town of Porto Velho from scratch on location in the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Every structure that Puzos built on this set was completely functional, complete with artifacts, books and furnishings, allowing Collet-Serra and the crew to shoot with complete freedom in the city. The set took one month to scout, two months to design and four months to build, dress and landscape, and Puzos and his team had to rely heavily on drones for location scouting due to the lack of accessibility of the area.
AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE (1990)
Jane Campion‘s 1990 biographical drama AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE is based on three autobiographies by Janet Frame – To the Is-Land, An Angel at My Table and The Envoy from Mirror City. The film follows Jane at various stages of her life, depicting the various challenges she faced growing up and living in New Zealand. An Angel at My Table premiered at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Grand Special Jury Prize. Campion worked on the film with Kiwi production designer Grant Major. This was Major’s first feature as a production designer, though he and Campion would go on to collaborate on projects such as The Power of the Dog.
Major worked closely with the three books as his primary research material to begin designing the film, and visited Frame’s childhood home for further inspiration for the look and feel of the film. The Spain and London locations were built on stage in Auckland for the film, and were made to look period appropriate. There was also a great deal of location photography in and around Auckland, and Major and Campion worked closely with the location scout department to create authentic sets and locations in which the story could take place.
28 DAYS LATER (2002)
28 DAYS LATER is a post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland. The film stars Cilian Murphy as a bicycle courier named Jim, who wakes up from a coma to discover the accidental release of a highly contagious, aggression-inducing virus that has caused the breakdown of society, and must now survive against those who have been infected with it. The film also stars Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns and Brendan Gleeson. Boyle worked on 28 Days Later with British cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, who was best known at the time for his collaborations with Danish filmmakers such as Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Though this was Mantle and Boyle’s first collaboration, they would go on to work together on Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Trance, and T2 Trainspotting. Given the violence of the script, the genre of the film and also the production logistics of having to shoot on location during the early hours in London, with traffic blocked and some major set builds on location that had to come down quickly to allow for morning traffic, Boyle and Mantle decided early that they would shoot the film digitally on a relatively low resolution camera.
Mantle selected the Canon ZXL1 MiniDV camera, given how light it was and how easy it was to set up. For major scenes shot at 4am in traffic-controlled empty areas of Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Bridge and the Docklands, Mantle had as many as 8 cameras shooting simultaneously, covering all angles and being operated with people via walkie-talkies to ensure that all angles could be covered on a scene as quickly as possible. While Mantle had concerns with the exposure levels of the film and its impact on the grain structure of these digital cameras, the violent and gritty nature of the story meant that he felt such visual results would be justified. Mantle shot wide open with ND filters to counteract the camera’s extreme depth of field, and he underexposed by one or two stops to get more information on the videotape. Boyle and Mantle agreed that the film’s climactic and most chaotic moments did not need to be covered in a frenetic, hand-held style, given the grittiness and intensity of the images the camera was already giving them. Instead, they had the cameras have a relatively calm operating style with a faster shutter speed to enhance the close shots of the movements made by those infected by the virus.
Guy Ritchie’s 2000 crime comedy SNATCH is set in the London underworld and follows two intertwined plots – the search for a stolen diamond, and a small-time boxing promoter who finds himself under the control of a ruthless gangster. The film stars Brad Pitt, Benicio del Toro, Dennis Farina, Rade Šerbedžija and Jason Statham. Ritchie worked on Snatch with British cinematographer Tim Maurice-Jones.
Ritchie and Maurice-Jones entered their collaboration wanting the camerawork to play just as much into the comedy of the film as its more violent, action-heavy aspects. Maurice-Jones built a visual language of constant camera movement that regularly found unorthodox angles and positions to destabilize the audience in relation to the characters, and to lace moments of violence with off-kilter comedy. Maurice-Jones’s lighting strategy was largely naturalistic, with a cooler color palette built around greens and blues that gave the film a seedy look that helped location even sunny day exterior scenes in the atmosphere of the British crime underworld.
Akira Kurosawa’s 1962 Jidaigeki film SANJURO is the sequel to his 1961 film Yojimbo and stars Toshiro Mifune as a samurai who helps a young man and his friend trying to save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent. Sanjuro was one of Japan’s highest grossing films of the year, and is today considered one of the most important of Kurosawa’s filmography. Kurosawa worked on Sanjuro with Japanese cinematographers Fukuzo Koizumi and Takao Saito. This was both Koizumi and Saito’s first collaboration with Kurosawa.
While many of the visual qualities of Sanjuro were brought over from Yojimbo by Kurosawa, he wanted to take advantage of Mifune’s proficiency with a sword to make the action of the film feel even more realistic and spontaneous. Kurosawa worked with Koizumi and Saito to hold the action in the frames a little wider in Sanjuro, giving an added dimension of realism to the fight scenes. In the climactic battle at the end of the film, Kurosawa did not have either Mifuno or Tatsuya Nakadai (who played his nemesis) rehearse, instead placing a tube of prop blood in Nakadai’s costume so he knew his character would die, and filming the fight scene impromptu in a wider shot. The final fight scene was shot in one take.
CUSP is a 2021 documentary directed by Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill following three teenage girls, who open up about their intense emotional lives as they roam bonfire parties, childhood bedrooms, and fast food spots in the lazy days of a Texas summer. Cusp premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and Bethencourt and Hill served as the co-cinematographers on the project.
Bethencourt and Hill met the subjects for Cusp while on a road trip from Montana to Texas for a commercial shoot. The three girls started speaking with Bethencourt and Hill in a gas station in rural Texas and invited them to hang out with them for the evening, and after getting to know them over the course of the evening, Bethencourt and Hill asked if they would be the subject of a documentary short. When they returned to Texas, Bethencourt and Hill started following the three girls, filming different aspects of their lives in a verité style that uncovered the challenges they were facing with their girlhood in this time and place in their lives.
Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 masterpiece CLOSE-UP is a docufiction film telling the story of the real-life trial of Hossein Sabzian, who impersonated filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, conning a family into believing they would star in his new film. The film is based on real events that occurred in Northern Tehran in the late 1980s, and Kiarostami got permission to film Sabzian’s trial as well as the families involved to re-enact incidents from the past. Close-Up premiered at the Torino Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize – Special Mention. Today, Close-Up is considered to be one of the most inventive and influential documentary films ever made.
Kiarostami treated Close-Up as an exercise in investigating reality versus realism, drawing the audience’s attention constantly back to the artifice of its construction, while also faithfully re-enacting sequences in a way that draw us into the reality of the scenarios faced by Sabzian (including the court trials, which were moved back in order to accommodate Kiarostami’s shooting schedule). In doing so, Kiarostami invites the audience to make judgements over the characters and the scenarios they face themselves, putting them in the position of the jury during the trial as it occurs.
DAISIES is a 1966 surrealist comedy-drama written and directed by Czech filmmaker Vēra Chytilová. The film follows two young women both named Marie (Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová) who embark on a series of pranks to rebel against a society they see as materialistic. Daisies is widely regarded as a milestone of the Czechosolvak New Wave movement, and is considered a critical work of satire of bourgeois decadence, authoritarianism and sexism. Today, the film is considered to be one of the most important examples of feminist cinema of the 20th century. Chytilová worked on the film with her husband, Czech cinematographer Jaroslav Kučera, who worked on many Czech New Wave films.
Chytilová designed Daisies to be a farce, constructed through a collage of constantly changing style with little to no plot structure holding the story together, instead relying on the visual language and themes of the film to create a cohesive whole. Daisies switches between types of footage that Kučera shot with – black and white, color and filtered and tinted footage. The destruction that the two Maries cause is reflected in the editorial style of the film, cutting boldly within and between scenes to create an avante-garde film that remains an important influence to this day.
SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR (2000)
Roy Andersson’s 2000 film SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR is a black comedy-drama that presents a series of loosely connected vignettes that uncovers the absurdity of the world to Kalle (Lars Nordh). Songs from the Second Floor is the first in a trilogy of films from Andersson, followed up by You, the Living and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence. Songs from the Second Floor premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Palme d’Or. Andersson worked on the film with Hungarian cinematographer István Borbás, Swedish cinematographer Jesper Kevenås and Czech cinematographer Robert Komarek.
Though the vignettes in Songs from the Second Floor do not have a strong narrative connection to each other, Anderrson and the cinematographers he worked with created a connective visual tissue between each of them in the visual language they adopted to tell the story of the film. Each scene of the film is shot as one long take from a static camera, with careful composition and lighting setups used to create a sense of perspective and compositional clarity that allows the action to unfold slowly all within one linear space.