DP Phedon Papamichael Talks Aspect Ratios and Black and White Aesthetic of 'Nebraska'

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With awards season buzz surrounding him, cinematographer Phedon Papamichaeal talks to Filmmaker Magazine about his work on black-and-white film Nebraska.

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He says, "[The widescreen aspect ratio] lends itself to really punching in on close ups and getting into the faces. Not having flesh tones, you’re able to see all the details, like Bruce Dern’s face, with all the textures and lines and, of course, his white hair. You put him in a little bit of a backlight or in some sun and his hair just glows and he becomes this ghostly figure. I think it works really beautifully for his character, in contrast to the open land, and underlines the motif of isolation. Black and white eliminates the distraction of having colors, although it’s more stylized. In a way it gives the story its own world of reality that allows you to focus in on these characters and on the mood of this particular place.

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