The visuals of The Lighthouse, the second feature from writer and director Robert Eggers, are haunting, mystifying, and absolutely intentional according to cinematographer Jarin Blaschke, the filmmakers crafting a distinctive look and feel for The Lighthouse that was achieved with a painstaking blend of old and new.
See how this very distinct look has made it an instant favorite for filmmakers:
The Lighthouse is a gorgeously lensed two-hander starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, charting the descent into madness of two lighthouse keepers secluded on a remote and mysterious island off the coast of New England.
Artfully crafted to transport audiences back to the end of the 19th century, the psychological thriller was shot in Nova Scotia on 35mm black-and-white film stock, with vintage Baltar lenses and a nearly square aspect ratio.
“All I knew before there was a script was there was going to be two people, a lighthouse, and it would be very atmospheric, of course,” Blaschke tells Bryan Adams. “I was thinking of a way to make it a kind of black and white you don’t really see lately. I wanted to figure out how to make something transportive. I wanted it to feel like something dug up from the past. We had some years to slowly think about it, and have our subconscious go to work on what this thing could look like.”
“Robert showed me his favorite example of our aspect ratio, a  German film set in mineshafts, Kameradschaft,” Blaschke told Daniel Eagan in an interview for Filmmaker magazine. “There were 20 to 30 films on a list he sent me for various reasons. Of those, Fritz Lang’s M was the strongest use of camera in a film. But the texture of The Lighthouse is more influenced by photography.”
Read more: Stormy Isle: The Lighthouse Cinematographer Jarin Blaschke shoots with black-and-white negative, vintage lenses and custom filters to emulate the orthochromatic film stock of old.