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'The Love Witch' DP Explains How 'Marnie' and 'The Birds' Influenced the Film's Retro Look

2/23/2017 10:30 AM Eastern
In the latest episode of the American Cinematographer Podcast, The Love Witch cinematographer M. David Mullen explains shooting the stylized horror film on 35mm film, and working to create a specific 1960s aesthetic.

Says Mullen, "[Director Anna Biller] showed me a lot of movies. She gave me a big stack of DVDs to watch. The trick with that was they varied quite a bit in look. Some of them were '60s New Wave-ish films where the lighting was a bit more naturalistic, others were more classic Hollywood studio films. Some were American B-movies of the '60s which were trying to emulate the studio films without the money. So they varied quite a bit in production value and lighting style. So my job was partly to figure out what in those movies Anna liked, whether it was just a mood or an actual specific camera angle or lighting element or color scheme. Her preference goes back earlier than '60s/'70s films in terms lighting preferences. They tend to be more '40s/'50s-oriented when it was almost all hard lighting...One of our key references for this film was Marnie by Hitchcock and also The Birds, which are back-to-back films, the last two shot by Robert Burks, ASC. And there's a mix of hard and soft lighting in Marnie. Mostly hard, but you could see Hitchcock experimenting with softer lighting techniques that he would then employ in Torn Curtain right after that."

Listen to the full podcast here.

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