Daniel Ehimen, DP, Director and Colorist, is one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the Nigerian film and television industry today. We get to take a look at his favourite movies and what filmmakers can learn from them
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, this film is a revisionist take on the second world war. In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish US soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same. Laden with typical Tarantino moments: long, tense dialogues followed by brief, intense action, he also pays homage to the spaghetti western, with the score and operatic camera work.
Tip: This film is an experiment in dramatic lighting says Daniel Ehimen, as the DP Robert Richardson teamed with Tarantino to formulate the unique look for this film, going for an epic look with high contrast, slight underexposure, gritty colors, but with certain colors emphasized at certain times for effect.
“The colors pop off the screen, from the blues and greens of the sky and the grass in the opening scene to the reds and crimson of the Nazi emblems and bloodshed, the image is bright and vibrant almost humming with electricity,” notes Film School Rejects. Richardson was nominated for an Academy Award for the film’s distinctive cinematography.
A Most Violent Year
This is a 2014 American crime drama film written and directed by J. C. Chandor. It follows the story of a businessman and his wife trying to hold on to their company in early 1980s New York.
It’s also beautifully photographed by Bradford Young , who fully exploits every aspect of visual language to convey meaning.
Tip: Daniel Ehimen notes that the photography in this film is an exploration of darkness by Bradford Young, who he calls the Prince of darkness.
Young did retain his low lighting style to create the director’s vision of New York in decay; keeping things dark, including the grim and cloudy outdoor scenes.
This exciting whodunit film from 2019, directed by Rian Johnson, is about a family gathering gone awry after the patriarch’s death, leading a master detective to investigate.
Rian Johnson’s brilliant writing combined with the artful cinematography of Steve Yedlin ensures that Knives Out is appealing both thematically and visually.
Along with Bradford Young, Steve Yedlin is another DP Daniel Ehimen reveres, especially for his intricate approach to cinematography. His website, Yedlin.net, is full of writing documenting his thoughts on resolution, color science, and other topics.
Tip: From Steve Yedlin’s interview with Studio Daily
” Tools don’t make things; people make things using tools. These tools allowed us to work the way we wanted: by designing the pipeline to our taste before we started instead of continuously redesigning it as we go. We were free to spend our limited time and resources focused on what really matters for visual authorship and not on overly broad strokes or reinventing the wheel or troubleshooting.”
Knives Out is also distinctive in it’s use of compound moves that combined dollies, pans and zooms, to follow or heighten evolving action.
How many of Ehimen’s favorite films have you seen? Let us know down in the comments?