Sunday, July 8, 2007

Shooting Kinski #5: Jose Luis Alcaine

Cinematographer Jose Luis Alcaine would be a legend among many film fans just for his work in the past twenty years with Pedro Almodovar, but Alcaine had already established himself as one of the best years before his first film with Pedro.
Born in 1938 in Morocco, Alcaine began shooting Spanish films starting in the mid sixties and shot dozens upon dozens of notable films before STAY AS YOU ARE including the just recently re-released WHO CAN KILL A CHILD and the Marisa Mell feature A DIARY OF A MURDERESS.
STAY AS YOU ARE would be among one of Alcain's biggest films of the seventies and the films lovely photographer would be chief among its best aspects. Alcaine is often associated with fluorescent tube lighting and the style that he had been perfecting throughout the seventies really pays off in STAY AS YOU ARE.
Alcain captured Nastassja at a pivotal time in her career and life and his photography of the 17 year old beauty is wonderful. Whether he is shooting Nastassja's youthfully intense face in close up or photography the film's much talked about love scenes, Alcaine's work is really striking. Alcaine really managed to capture not only Nastassja's youthful energy but also Marcello's weary middle aged look incredibly well, and the contrast he makes between the two of them is striking.
Alcaine would continue to work in mostly Spanish films throughout the eighties before striking up his fruitful collaboration with Almodovar with 1988's WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN. He has since shot several more of Pedro's best films including TIE ME UP TIE ME DOWN and VOLVER. Alcaine has also worked with several other of Spain's most notable directors including Vincente Aranda with LOVERS, Fernando Trueba with BELLE EPOQUE and several Bigas Luna films.
Alcaine has been nominated and won many Goya awards as well as many other international prizes. His photography always brings something special to a film and the way he shoots actors is always original and incredible to look at. While he has photographed some of the screen's most beautiful actresses, including Penelope Cruz, Emmanuelle Beart, Victoria Abril and Mathilda May, I don't think he has ever topped his shooting of the young Nastassja Kinski in her 17th year right before she became an international sensation.

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