After a number of setbacks in his career, film director Mikhail Kalatozov was revitalised by his encounter and subsequent partnership with dauntless cinematographer Sergey Urusevsky, with whom he worked on the Palme d’Or winning The Cranes Are Flying (1957) and The Unsent Letter (1959) before collaborating on I Am Cuba.
Astonishing both in terms of scale and style, the film met with criticism upon its release for prioritising form over narrative. Its distinctive visual language however – characterised by wide angle distortive photography, staggeringly long and complicated tracking shots and innovative use of close-ups and infrared stock – is what marks it out today as one of the major triumphs in cinematography.
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Sergey Urusevsky
Showing as part of Eye to Eye – Visionary Partnerships in Cinematography and Direction (July 2nd – 30th).