Cinema is the only art form capable of utilizing and combining all other arts, and in such inspiring ways that it can produce a new way of complete human expression; ergo a fresh, and “sui generis” art itself. However, as in every art form, to achieve a confirmed or acclaimed artistic status is not a matter of self-declaration, but one of specific assets. Perhaps the most critical of all those assets in film is none other than the camerawork.
The camera placement and movement is one of the most crucial aspects in every film production. It represents the overall vision of the director, the skill of the director of principal photography, and their ongoing collaboration throughout the filmmaking process. Since the beginning of feature films in the first decade of the 20th century, many of the pioneering techniques have been used extensively, maximizing not only the possibilities of each era’s camera technologies, but also the level of artistry in motion pictures.
Tracking shots, crane shots, multiple cameras shooting the same scene from different angles, “Dutch angles”, long takes, the use of deep focus, the use of wide-angle and zoom lenses, and intentionally unsteady shots through a hand-held camera, are all different ways of making a film more beautiful, and more rich in meanings and symbolisms. Add to that the benefits of post-production (editing, special effects, soundtrack), and it is quite clear that cinema is limitless regarding its creative potency.
Any filmmakers who have mastered all those classic camera techniques mentioned above, and are lucky enough to have a well-written screenplay on their hands, plus an efficient crew to surround them, meet the requirements to make a good film.
But to make a great film, you need a bit of that extra magic that separates the true visionaries of the medium (those who challenge the audiences to follow them in their often uncompromising and non-mainstream cinematic ventures) from the dexterous craftsmen (those who depend on their technical expertise in order to impress the largest possible amount of viewers, incorporating the “entertainment” factor into their work).
As Aristotle quotes, “the aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance”. The following list is a selection of 30 movies (please do not pay much attention to their order, it is of secondary importance), from different eras, genres and cinema movements, which fulfill this aim by relying heavily on their brilliant camerawork. These are not necessarily revolutionary movies in terms of technological breakthrough, but they are in terms of artistic virtuosity.http://www.tasteofcinema.com/2015/30-movies-with-the-most-brilliant-camera-work/