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Top 100 World Best Cinematography films.


BEST 100
1. The New World - Malick, Lubezki

2. The Thin Red Line - Malick, Toll

3. Days of Heaven - Malick, Almendros

4. Barry Lyndon - Kubrick, Alcott

5. Legends of the Fall - Zwick, Toll

6. Baraka - Fricke

7. Braveheart - Gibson, Toll

8. In the Mood for Love - Wong, Doyle

9. Citizen Kane - Welles, Toland

10. 2046 - Wong, Doyle

11. once upon a time in the west

12. Apocalypse Now!
13. amadeus
14. The Wind and the Lion
15. The Last of the Mohicans
16. Body Heat
17. Cool Hand Luke
18. Blade Runner
19. L.A. Confidential
20. The Last Picture Show
21. Shindler's List
22. The Conformist
23. Ran
24. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
25. Raging Bull
26. Badlands.
27. paris texas
28. chili peppers
29. Psycho
30. Blow
31. Traffic
32. Shawshank Redemption
33. Man on Fire
34. Usual Suspects
35. Seven
36. Dances With Wolves
37. Forest Gump
38. Lawrence of Arabia
39. Touch of Evil
40. The Last Picture Show
41. Yojimbo
42. The Killing Fields
43. Amélie
44. The Twilight Samurai
45. Road to Perdition
46. In the Mood for love
47. Ben-Hur
48. Far and Away
49. O' Brother Where Art Thou?
50. Repulsion
51. Chinatown
52. Oliver Twist
53. l'avventura
54. Red / Beatty
55. 2001: A Space Odyssey / Kubrick
56. Seven Samurai / Kurosawa
57. Titanic
58. Unforgiven
59. Stalker / Tarkovski
60. Vertigo / Hitchcock
61. The Element of Crime - Tom Elling
62. Blood Simple - Barry Sonnenfeld
63. Godfather 1 & 2
64. Empire of the Sun
65. Frida
66. Pan's Labyrinth
67. An Angel at my Table
68. The Man with the Movie Camera
69. Battleship Potempkin
70. Far Away, So Close
71. Before the Rain
72. The Match Factory Girl
73. Time of the Gypsies
74. Spirit of the Beehive
75. The English Patient
76. Memoirs of a Geisha
77. The Piano
78. The Horse Whisperer
79. Amorres Peros
80. Children of Men
81. The good the bad and the ugly
82. Come and see
83. Two men and a wardrobe
84. After Life
85. The red light bandit
86. See you in hell friends
87. The Bride with White Hair"
88. Raise the Red Lantern",
89. "Red Sorghum
90. Andrei Rublev
91. Nazarin"
92. The heart of glass
93. The shop on main street
94. The virgin spring
95. The Passion of Joan of Arc
96. "Rashomon
97. Full Metal Jacket
98. 400 Blows
99. Last Tango
100. Snow Falling on Cedars

Top Ten Directors of Photography

For many many years I had always felt great cinematography

was the film with the most beautiful lighting and pictures. The
last few years though I have begun to feel that great
cinematography is what style and pictures best tell the story.
An exampleof this for me this year was Children of Men. There
are lots of shots and lighting in it that simply look very poor, but
yet its look, style and feel do an incredible job to help tell the
story and pull you in.

Each morning in Africa when the sun comes up, each Lion
knows that if it can't out run the slowest antelope it will end up
starving to death. Each antelope knows that if it can't out run
the fastest Lion it won't see the next morning.

So it doesn't really matter if you are a Lion or a antelope,

because when the sun comes up - you'd better start running!

a list that doesn’t include such worthy names as Remi Adefarasin (The House of Mirth), Nelson Yu Lik-
wai (all five of Jia Zhang-ke’s features), Stuart Dryburgh (The Piano), John Toll (The Thin Red Line), Peter
Deming (Mulholland Drive), Peter Suschitzky (Spider), Edward Lachman (Far from Heaven), or Büttner.
Such unthinkable exclusion is telling of the wealth of talent currently working behind the camera on film
sets from Hong Kong to Los Angeles.

10. “Peter Andrews”

Peter Andrews does not exist. It’s a pseudonym employed by Steven Soderbergh, who has lensed every
film he’s helmed from Traffic on (he also edits his own work under the name “Mary Ann Bernard”—who
knows why). This raises an altogether different query than the one I mentioned in the introduction to
this piece. That is, has Soderbergh developed into a better director of photography than of movies in
general? Example A: Solaris’s cool, metallic space veneer and moodily oversaturated flashback
sequences. Example B: Full Frontal. Case closed?

09. Harris Savides

Unlike many of my peers, I’m not a fan of Gus Van Sant’s recent (unambiguously Béla Tarr-aping)
output. However, the best thing, without a doubt, about Van Sant’s Loneliness (or whatever you want to
call it) Trilogy is Savides’s exquisite camerawork. Even if Elephant’s tragic high school kids frequently
resemble over-fetishized runway models, there’s still no question that the man knows how to sustain
some of the world’s smoothest tracking shots. Hell, his perfectly modulated balance of Michael Haneke-
style long shots and revealing close-ups almost redeemed the otherwise useless Last Days.

08. Emmanuel Lubezki

Lubezki is a rare talent, but one you can’t necessarily trust with just any filmmaker. His candy-coated
compositions only added, for example, to the kitsch factor of the recent live-action adaptation of Dr.
Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. Partnered with reputable aesthetes like Tim Burton or Terrence Malick, on
the other hand, he’s top-tier all the way. Burton’s Sleepy Hollow is virtually all surface, but—you decide
about 15 minutes in—that doesn’t matter a bit because it looks so damn good. His masterly use of
natural light as an expressive force is best exemplified by Malick’s The New World, which wouldn’t pack
nearly the same end-of-innocence punch without Lubezki’s expertise. (Bonus points for having shot this
breathtaking scene.)

07. Eric Gautier

He’s worked side-by-side with some of France’s finest contemporary filmmakers—Olivier Assayas,
Arnaud Desplechin, Patrice Chereau. Too easy, you say? Like Kobe winning three NBA championships—
with Shaq. Not so fast: Gautier also shot Walter Salles’s staggeringly vapid Che Guevara biopic, The
Motorcycle Diaries, and if you manage to stay awake throughout (no simple feat, granted), it’s clear that
his landscape work there is as stunning as anything in Esther Kahn or Those Who Love Me Can Take the

06. Roger Deakins

Coen brothers movies always look different and always look great, from Fargo’s snowbound visuals (the
color white has seldom been put to such effective use—seriously) to the rich, smoky black and white of
the noir homage The Man Who Wasn’t There. For this, a generous portion of the credit should go to
Roger Deakins, who’s shot all of their movies since Barton Fink. But that’s not the end of his case.
Deakins also shot Scorsese’s Kundun, bathing the story of the Dalai Lama in deep, radiant hues of yellow
and red, and Sam Mendes’s Jarhead, where he managed to do for sand what Fargo did for snow.

05. Janusz Kaminski

Kaminski won his first Academy Award for his haunting work on Schindler’s List, a daunting exercise in
matching frenzied action with devastating stillness. Spielberg has smartly stuck with him ever since
(though—fun fact—ex-wife and fellow member of Oscar’s Class of ’93 Holly Hunter didn’t). Kaminski’s
crowning achievement as a cinematographer may be one in the same with Spielberg’s masterpiece: A.I.,
hands-down the most visually sumptuous sci-fi film ever made. The harrowing demolition sequence is
proof of Kaminski’s technically fluent, first-rate craftsmanship. The iconic underwater shot of Haley Joel
Osment’s David and the blue fairy statue solidifies his reputation as a visionary artist in his own right.

04. Dion Beebe

Speaking of fruitful director/DP partnerships, Michael Mann and Dion Beebe are—two films in—the duo
du jour in American cinema. Collateral, with its luminous fluorescent glow and striking DV urgency,
captures L.A. as indelibly (and perhaps definitively) as Gordon Willis did New York in Woody Allen’s
Manhattan. Miami Vice is the hypnotically stylish apotheosis of Mann’s designer oeuvre, and he would
never have achieved it without Beebe’s singular lens. Who knows? There might be actual substance in
there somewhere, but that sure as heck ain’t the reason it gets my vote as the best Hollywood movie so
far this year.

03. Mark Li Ping-bing

Whether credited as Mark Li Ping-bing, Mark Lee Ping-bin, Mark Ping-bin Lee, Mark Lee, or Pingbin Li,
this is definitely a guy you want shooting your movie. Hou Hsiao-hsien swears by him, and for good
reason. The trio of vignettes in Three Times might have played as mere back-catalogue rehashes without
Ping-bing’s camera guiding Hou’s signature concerns in fascinating new directions. Where the turn-of-
the-century brothel in 1998’s Flowers of Shanghai is adorned in bold shades of orange, yellow, and gold,
the “Time for Freedom” chapter of Three Times (again set in a turn-of-the-century brothel) is defined by
compositions in blue, green, and violet, beautifully underscoring the painful longing of Hou’s characters.
Aside from Hou, Ping-bing has also lent his painterly touch to Tran An Hung’s The Vertical Ray of the Run
and Tian Zhuangzhuang’s Springtime in a Small Town.

02. Agnes Godard

The first thing everyone notices about Claire Denis films is that tactile sensuality, surfaces that shine in
the sun (the toned soldiers of Beau Travail) or seem to gradually deepen in color before your eyes (the
seemingly mundane hotel room in Friday Night). Ladies and gentleman: Agnes Godard, the DP who can
make anyone or anything look like a Vermeer painting. Her meticulous, penetrating visual style couldn’t
be more perfectly suited to Denis’s strangely shaped, deliberately paced narratives. Trouble Every Day
would be just another Euro-art-horror flick without the weight of melancholy that Godard’s camera
carries. As is, it feels, at times, like a portrait of two suffering saints—who just happen to think
cannibalism’s pretty sexy.

01. Christopher Doyle

To be perfectly honest with you, my choice for #1 here wasn’t terribly difficult. It was basically just a
matter of deduction. Who, over the past decade-plus, has made the most consistently gorgeous-looking
movies? Wong Kar-wai, right? No question. Well, as mentioned above, Wong and Doyle are inseparable
to the point that it’s reasonable to wonder where one ends and the other begins. And no, as virtues go,
breathtaking, eye-popping beauty isn’t everything, but it goes an awfully long way. Think back
momentarily, and consider all the indelible moments that Wong and Doyle have brought us: the would-
be lovers riding off on the motorbike at the close of Fallen Angels, Doyle’s camera peering skyward
before the credits roll; the rhythmic series of impossibly graceful shots following Tony Leung and Maggie
Cheung through their solo motions in In the Mood for Love (shot with Ping-bing); Faye Wong’s android
drifting disaffectedly through Mr. Chow’s pulp fantasy in 2046; the three minutes and forty-two seconds
of romantic ecstasy that is their music video for DJ Shadow’s “Six Days.”

Hey, if that’s not enough for you, Doyle has also shot non-Wong films as diverse as Pen-ek
Ratanaruang’s Last Life in the Universe, Zhang Yimou’s Hero, and Phillip Noyce’s Rabbit-Proof Fence.
Dumplings, Hong Kong director Fruit Chan’s contribution to the pan-Asian triptych Three…Extremes,
would be a scathing polemic on its own. With Doyle manning the camera, it’s a striking, self-reflexive
paradox—a visually seductive critique of our image-obsessed (global) culture.


1) Sven Nykvist
2) Vittorio Storaro
3) Roger Deakins
4) Nestor Almendros
5) Vilmos Zsigmond
6) Gordon Willis
7) Ed Lachman
8) Carlo Di Palma
9) Janusz Kaminski
10) John Toll