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Breaking the "180 degrees rule". (2 replies)

4 months ago
Abou18 4 months ago

Hello Mr Deakins, I was wondering if you had seen Phantom Thread and if so, what your opinion of its cinematography and the film in general was, considering PTA did not work with a cinematographer.

Additionally, I noticed that during the great brekfast/seduction scene, PTA decided to break the "180 degrees rule". Using davinci resolve, I reversed the shots of Alma to see how it would look had been shot ordinarily and I don't understand why that decision was made. Could you please give me your opinion as to why one might want to dish this guideline through a scene?


Thank you in advance.

Roger Deakins
4 months ago
Roger Deakins 4 months ago

Sometimes a director will consciously cross the line in order to add a sense of unease to a scene. Jean Pierre Melville often did this. I would imagine PTA was of the same mind.

I loved 'Phantom Thread' and thought it much the director's best work. The film was lit by a very experienced Gaffer who is credited as the Lighting Cameraman.

4 months ago
jthomsg 4 months ago

I like this scene, Reynolds Woodcock is a serious-minded individual, and this is the only scene where he truly becomes vulnerable throughout the entire film. He finds the waitress irresistibly charming, and he loses control of his own emotions, it's an offbeat scene for that reason alone, which is why I think it was filmed that way. Notice, how Reynolds becomes something of a child when he's ordering. I believe he sees strong qualities in Alma that reminded him of his mother. 

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