VANESSA WHYTE’S 5 FAVOURITE FILMS – TEXT LUKE TIERNEY
Here we have a truly diverse DOP. From shorts to commercials, animation and of course music videos, Vanessa has the ability to lend her eye regardless of project. She even has her own Panalux LED lights named after her, the NessLED. True story. If there’s ever a person with a “yes we can” attitude it is our girl Ness, although of course it is not the attitude we can see on screen.
Having worked with artists such as Mary J Blige, Manic Street Preachers and most recently The Fratellis with gal pal and excitingly talented director Libby Burke Wilde, Word Is Cheap caught up with Vanessa Whyte in what developed into a list of classics mixed with obscure loves. Childhood treats and adult films. Much like her talents, Ness’ favourite films are diverse.
“Don’t Look Now” directed by Nicolas Roeg
When I was about 14 I found out that one of my friends had a dad who was a film director. I had no idea who Nic Roeg was, but when my Dad heard I was mates with his son, he was like, “Oh my god, he’s the most incredible Director and you have to watch all his films!!” So I did. I was hooked. They are so beautifully shot as well as deeply affective – funny, moving, frightening – I love them all but Don’t Look Now is probably the one I’ve seen the most, although I’m really torn to choose between that and Bad Timing. I spent so much time with Roeg’s films over my formative years and ended up studying them for my Art A-level. He has incredible depth of knowledge and a wide range of influences. He stuck to his vision regardless of what the critics said and his cult standing only proves his worth. He’s brave, stubborn, always an independent thinker and I wish I could be more like that.
“In the Mood for Love” directed by Wong Kar-wai
Every frame of this film is breathtakingly beautiful. This story is all about what is left unsaid, so the images do all the talking. The music is wonderful too, and when combined with the camera movement, the locations, the beautiful design and costume, it’s like every department is joining in the heart-breaking dance of the two protagonists. Christopher Doyle’s cinematography is beautiful and intense and his work on Wong Kar Wai’s films just bowls me over.
“The Happy Prince” directed by Michael Mills
This, along with Star Wars, The Princess Bride and Labyrinth, is the film I watched on repeat as a child. Based on an Oscar Wilde short story it is a real tear-jerker. It’s so cheesy and dated now, but I still can’t leave it on for more than five minutes without regressing into childhood, so it is confined (engraved) to memory.
“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” directed by Andrew Dominik
This is probably the most recent film that really blew my socks off. Roger Deakins is a master and I just love how simply he portrays this story. The lighting and camera work are subtle and natural and fit perfectly into the sets and locations. It’s a period piece but Deakins captures it in a completely non-retro way and with a simplicity that I’m sure belies the extraordinary amount of preparation that went into this film.
“Blade Runner” directed by Ridley Scott
It’s a cliché, isn’t it? Sure.
Having loved this film for so long I jumped at the chance to work behind the scenes on Prometheus, and ended up on set for four months documenting Ridley Scott and his team during production. He gave me a lift in his golf buggy once and when he dropped me off he turned and said, “That’s the most expensive lift you’ll ever have”, and I imagine he was right.