Posted by Alia Haddad on October 12, 2012 at 10:17 am
It’s amazing to think about how many people in Hollywood have such a great affect on our lives without us even realizing it most of the time. How many movies we claim have profoundly affected us, without recognizing all the people it took to make such a film. Praise for my favorite films usually lands solely on the director and, sometimes, on the actors. While I am not as naive to think that a director makes any great–or bad for that matter–alone, it is often easy to give due credit to the director for corralling and overseeing everyone’s work. And yet, every person on set helps a movie– big or small, funny or sad, good or bad–come to life. The late cinematographer, Harris Savides, who died yesterday October 11, 2012, was one of those people so often overlooked by the movie-going public (myself include).
Savides was a premier Hollywood cinematographer. Judging by his filmography, he mastered his craft early on, serving as cinematographer of David Fincher’s underrated The Game in the beginning of his career. While Savides would go on to work with Fincher again–this time as director of photography for Zodiac, it became clear that Savides’s style, though highly advanced, could not be pigeonholed. Cinematography work on Gus Van Sant’s Elephant and Milk, Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding and Greenberg, Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, and Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere reveal that while Savides definitely had nuances and a general style, he was able to transform and mold his vision into whatever project he was working on.
Moreover, the list above–just a sampling of Savides’s work–often tops many people’s Greatest Movie lists. Personally, I watch Greenberg whenever I’m homesick for the east side of Los Angeles, Somewhere whenever I’m feeling lost, and Zodiac whenever my cousins and I reunite for a horror movie night. As a presenter of images–which is also the most basic role of cinema–Savides truly excelled.
His final work was on Sofia Coppola’s upcoming The Bling Ring, and if precedent has taught us anything, the movie, at its minimum, will be beautiful. Savides will be greatly missed.