Combat cinematography: interpreting the cinematographic form of combat realism

Maddock, Daniel (2019) Combat cinematography: interpreting the cinematographic form of combat realism. In: The Palgrave handbook of artistic and cultural responses to war since 1914: the British Isles, the United States and Australasia. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., Cham, Switzerland, pp. 447-465. ISBN 978-3-319-96985-5


Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) was widely reported as the most realistic depiction of battle ever captured on screen with the New York Times calling its cinematography ‘reportorial candor’ while famous critic Roger Ebert wrote of its ‘newsreel feel.’ Spielberg won an Oscar for Best Direction for his efforts and, in 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being deemed ‘culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.’ Spielberg’s cinematographer, Janusz Kamiński, ASC, created a new cinematographic form for Saving Private Ryan which came to define the look of the combat film genre. This chapter discusses the construct of ‘realism’ in Saving Private Ryan’s cinematography, exploring its roots in combat newsreels and photography. The authenticity of the look of the most famous combat photography and films is then debated. Following this, the chapter examines the cinematographic form of Saving Private Ryan qualifying it using Mark Cousins’ methodology of ‘schema-plus-variation’ through cinematic language and applying it to an exploration of techniques that define visual authenticity in cinema thereby qualifying Kamiński’s cinematography as existing between the ideologies of verisimilitude and impressionism.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: c. The Editors and The Authors 2019.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2019 05:41
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2019 03:32
Uncontrolled Keywords: cinematography, combat, cinematographic style, cinematographic Form
Fields of Research : 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190201 Cinema Studies

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