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Chris Doyle on film as music and space

By ACMI, 2010 2:36 minutes

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Christopher Doyle says that art uses the ‘rhetoric of music’ in terms of structure, repetition and movement. In film this extends to the dance between camera and actors, a relationship of great possibilities that Doyle tries to stay open to. It is the role of the cinematographer to respond to the actors’ use of space as well as to the qualities of the space itself. Doyle prefers to be guided by what exists in a scene rather than imposing some kind of imagined idea on the work, and this extends to a belief in the artistic importance of filming on location.

Collection Screen Worlds


Discussion Points

When Doyle talks about responding to the people and spaces that he is filming, he is expanding upon his ideas about the musical, dance-like quality of film. It would be hard to imagine this organic approach working if the rest of the team was not on the same wavelength.

Doyle refers to his collaboration with Wong Kar Wai and the way his approach dovetails with Wong’s practice of working without a script.

  •     Focus on a film that Doyle and Wong have worked on together in order to get a better understanding of the kind of relationship Doyle is describing.

When some actors describe the process of acting in a film, they often refer to the difficulty of ‘hitting their mark’.

  •     How does Christopher Doyle’s perspective on the relationship between the camera and an actor’s performance challenge a number of film acting conventions?