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Posted on April 11th, 2014, by

Photography

The one in charge of photography for Any Given Sunday is cinematographer Salvatore Totino. The scenes of Any Given Sunday were shot in two cities, Miami, Florida and Irving, Texas, just as they are presented according to the plot. The variety of camera angles and camera shots is really wide. The majority of the scenes are typically shot with electrical lighting. It is generally realistic, but from time to time colors are distorted to enhance dramatic effect. For example, the lights are down in the bar to reflect Tony’s depressive mood. Colors are also darkened when they talk with Willie during his visit because tension between them is high and the prevailing emotion is negative. When there is a need to grab more than two people, there are long shorts, especially when the process of the game is shown. The dialogues are mainly characterized by medium shot. Effective is, for instance, over-the-shoulder-shot. When Christina talks with the commissioner, in one of the shots the latter is shown behind her, while her face is not seen, only her forehead, ear, neck and shoulder. However, close-ups are seen much more often and many of them pass into extreme close-ups. Most of the dialogues are shot by close-ups to make the audience catch every mimic change on the face of a character. It is especially typical for the dialogues involving the main characters. The face of Al Pacino as Tony D’amato can be studied in the finest detail, and in this way almost every event is perceived through his emotional filters. When he is alone, camera stops at his sad tired eyes. Apart from that, Christina’s beautiful face is also taken very close, sometimes the mouth or eyes separately. The difference is that when extreme close-ups show Tony, it creates comfortable impression of intimate shot, whereas Christina’s extreme close-ups look like they are shot by hidden cameras to expose her true nature. In addition, close-ups are used to grab attention to symbolic objects. One of them is, of course, the ball. Camera also stops at Willie’s car keys, for example, as they symbolize his hypocrisy.

As for camera angles, there are numerous bird’s-eye views when the game is shown. To grab the entire stadium, the camera is elevated rather high by crane and high angle provides vivid overviews. Neutral shots, which are few, are taken at the eye level. Besides, low angle is also effective to change the focus. It makes the players look more impressive and resolute when they, for instance, leave the locker room and set out for the battle. One more outstanding feature is that camera is often oblique. Its unbalanced transition and instability create the impression of realistic point of view when it is rather hard to notice every move of a player as the speed is very high.

Mise en Scene and Movement

Although Any Given Sunday is a sports drama, not a romance, it is noticeable that camera here prefers intimate and personal proxemic patterns. In general, demonstration of a game would probably require neutral distance between camera and people. However, Oliver Stone had other objectives in his work. In this movie it is important for the viewer to feel as close as possible to the characters, to be involved not only emotionally, but also physically. That is why camera often achieves skin contact, sometimes even exceeding the boundaries of comfort. Personal pattern is applied for dialogue scenes, but when tension is rising, the camera begins to go round without stopping at any face for a long time. A good example is a scene in which Rooney, the injured captain of the Miami Sharks, argues with his wife Cindy about his future. Still, social and public distances are also used when the game starts. The spectators as well as the term are shown from about twenty feet, but not for long. After such pattern camera rapidly moves to dramatic close-ups.

The variety of movement options applied in the movie is wide too. Sometimes the camera moves together with action, but series of cuts are more typical for Any Given Sunday. It is rather hard to find a scene where the camera would move gradually either horizontally or vertically. It is rather hazard and restless, as if it tries to catch any tiniest change of emotion in characters or situation. For wide panoramas of the football field or stadium, dolly shots are used. Again, from such trucking shots camera nervously moves to close-ups, not to miss a detail. Some of the scenes seem to be hand-held shot. Hand-held shot are imitated to create the effect of a hot report or spying. During the most exciting moments of the game, motion is slowed down to communicate the importance of the action. One more curious option is zooming. It is applied to take out some of the faces of the spectaculars. As zoom lens is not a perfect tool to provide a distinctive image, the shot becomes jerky and the image becomes distorted. However, this effect only adds vividness and truth to the reception of the motion picture.

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