It’s Wednesday: Hump day. It’s not quite Thursday: Forever “new” Friday. This means a night in is preferential. This means we’ve asked Dan Stafford-Clark DOP extraordinaire for his 5 must-see / see-again films. The kind that every dop consciously references. The kind that every ODP was influenced by to become a DOP.
Having DOP’d promos for Disclosure, Tinie Tempah and Katy B as well as commercials for Sony, Nissan and Windows Dan Stafford-Clark has the eye. And in the case of Disclosure ‘Latch’, its an eye that over 100m people have seen. Being a big film fan (surprised?), Dan was more than excited to share his favourites of all time with us. An eclectic mix of classics and hidden gems (that you should know about which are now on our ‘to watch’ list), Dan’s five films were exactly what we were hoping for. A part of the Vision @ Wizzo crew, catch more of his work here personal site here, in the meantime enjoy the trailers and thoughts.
This is what started it all for me. I must have been about 12 when I saw Blade Runner and it pretty much sucked me into the screen. I lived in that world. I wanted to be able to create that same feeling.
The phrase psychological horror gets used far too much, but this is the only apt description for The Shining. No cheap scares here, its sense of dread succeeds entirely on its cinematic elements – the relationship between photography, performance, editing, sound and design. It has an intangible way of getting under your skin, and I still feel this watching it for the 50th time.
There Will Be Blood:
It succeeds on every level. It took me a few viewings to realise this, like a lot of what sticks with me the most. It’s so many things – a study of the awakenings of modern capitalism, a portrait of a psychopath, a father-son character piece, an art-house mood film, a turn of the century costume drama, a revisionist Western. But ultimately it’s entirely its own. And the opening ten minutes are daaark, so as a DP, that bravery excites me.
Come and See:
It’s an absolute hidden gem of a film, made in the Soviet 80s by the director Elem Klimov. It’s gut-wrenching viewing – I can only really watch it once every five years. It’s set in the Second World War during the Nazi occupation of Belarus, and it is a total mind fuck. And again, it’s cinematic craft that’s used to create such a thick hallucinatory mood. There’s a ridiculously beautiful half hour where the only sound is a tinnitus ring, after the boy protagonist is too close to a detonating bomb.
This film takes me immediately back to my early 20s when I worked at the BFI Southbank as an usher. I was immersing myself in film from every period, genre and corner of the world, and my mind expanded rapidly. It stunned me with its rawness, in performance and in tone. It had the new wave energy but took it to somewhere deeper. It’s a beautiful film but with such a heart and I hope to channel an inkling of this when I shoot drama.