The collaborations of director Paolo Sorrentino and cinematographer Luca Bigazzi have produced some of the most visually resplendent films of recent times including the 2013 Oscar winner for Best Foreign-Language Film, "The Great Beauty." In our recent podcast chat (listen below), the DP spoke extensively about their latest outing, “Youth,” which finds two old friends (Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel) reflecting on their pasts and contemplating their futures while on vacation.
“The pictorial beauty is the beauty of the Swiss Alps,” Bigazzi says humbly, giving much of the credit to the gorgeous landscapes against which the film was shot. Yet it wasn’t always the intention of the filmmakers to embrace those landscapes.
“This is exactly the kind of thing you’d like to avoid,” explains Bigazzi. Initially, Sorrentino was reluctant to fill every frame with the blue skies and green mountains surrounding the hotel where Caine and Keitel are staying. “It was so beautiful that we cannot go against that, so we accept it."
He continues, "One of the most beautiful things about Paolo and me is that we really change our minds continuously, because we don’t want to have fixed ideas about the look of the movie, or the way we’re going to shoot. We are influenced by the reality. Half of the movie is day exterior so we have to make things like they are.”
Bigazzi has won a slew of Italian cinema awards for his work, including seven David di Donatello awards, four of which came for his collaborations with Sorrentino: “The Consequences of Love” (2004), “Il Divo” (2008), “This Must Be the Place” (2011), and “The Great Beauty” (2013), He also won for “Lamerica” (1994), “Bread and Tulips” (2000), and “Romanzo Criminale” (2005)).
Will Oscar voters be the next group to take notice? Check out our full interview for more about his work on “Youth.”
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"Youth" photo credit: Fox Searchlight