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Bulworth



David Mullen of the CML gives permission for this repost on the movie
Bulworth:

--- Forwarded mail from "David Mullen" <davidm2 at earthlink.net>

To: CML at cinematography.net
From: "David Mullen" <davidm2 at earthlink.net>
Subject: CML: "Bulworth" dye transfer print
Date: Fri, 15 May 98 18:52:30 PDT
Reply-To: "David Mullen" <davidm2 at earthlink.net>

Today I saw "Bulworth" at the AMC14 in Century City.  It had been
reported by a projectionist on rec.arts.movie.tech that some dye
transfer prints had been made of the film by Technicolor.

It was clear during the title sequence that I was watching a dye
transfer print - it had the same red fringing around white letters
that I saw in the I.B. print of "Batman & Robin" last year.

I would say that the fringing was the only noticable defect - and it
was slight.  I don't think it was due to misregistration of the red
dye transfer - it almost looked like the red dye was so thick that it
spread a little (that was my impression; the reds are very rich and
saturated.) It might have made the warm-colored scenes slightly softer
looking.

The blacks were really dense!  The dark areas and the darker colors
were very "clean", not muddy and grainy as can happen with EK prints.
It helped that the film was shot on 5293, of course.  The extra
contrast gave the picture a real snap and increased some of the
apparent sharpness at times.  Despite the increased saturation of
colors, the grey non-colored scenes stayed very monochrome and
neutral.

I think the caucasian fleshtones were more interesting than with EK
prints; there were hints of pink/magenta in the skin without an
overall warmth having to be timed in.  Strongly colored scenes, like
at a nightclub, look almost like the colored shapes were cut out and
pasted in.

I'm a big Storaro fan, but I felt that his multi-colored, symbolic
lighting scheme was a little hard to decifer - it lacked the clarity
of the warm/cold dichotomy of films like "Sheltering Sky" (maybe that
was simplistic, but at least it looked controlled) - in "Bulworth", it
looked cluttered.  It didn't help that the directing was somewhat
haphazard - I guess it can all be justified since it is about a man's
mental breakdown.  The scene where I liked the color symbolism the
most was at a drug dealer's house - it was lit in all hard lighting;
white key lights were mixed with deep blue/indigo shadows. It had a
disturbing quality that I liked.

You can see his Jumbo Lights (banks of ACL's) in a number of scenes,
sort of dressed in as art direction for various political functions,
TV events, and nightclubs.

Storaro normally uses the ENR process on his prints, which gave him
those deep blacks but also darkened and smoothed out his colors and
added a certain silvery grit to the image.  Here, using the dye
transfer process instead, he gets his rich blacks but loses the grit
and the softer colors, giving the film a certain "candy-colored'
quality that looks less elegent than his normal work.  It's a little
hard to make a film about modern life in the media's eye look
attractive, since there is so much techno-trashiness involved (I think
Michael Ballhous had a similar problem finding a look for "Primary
Colors" - it ended up being somewhat of a visual hodge-podge.)

But I guess, when someone pulls this dye transfer print out of a closet
twenty years from now, it won't have turned to magenta...

--- End of forwarded message from "David Mullen" <davidm2 at earthlink.net>



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