Definition February 2024 - Web


The Boys in the Boat , George Clooney’s latest foray into directing, tells the true story of the University of Washington-turned-United States Olympic rowing team. To capture their epic journey, DOP Martin Ruhe took to the water B ased on the 2013 novel by Daniel James Brown, The Boys in the Boat follows the University of WORDS Katie Kasperson IMAGES Laurie Sparham © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All rights reserved SHOWBOATING Despite limited

experience on the water, Ruhe made the best of the resources he had

Washington (UW) men’s rowing team in the lead-up to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As its name suggests, the film largely takes place on the water – a challenge tackled by cinematographer Martin Ruhe. Directed by industry veteran George Clooney, The Boys in the Boat is a true tale of emotional and athletic grit during the Great Depression. “He was fascinated by the story, by the book,” recounts Ruhe, who collaborated with Clooney on previous projects such as Catch-22 . “He loved the underdog thing.” Ruhe wasn’t familiar with The Boys in the Boat when Clooney initially asked him to join the project, but he quickly became fascinated after reading the story. “I never thought that rowing would have such an audience,” he admits. UP TO THE TASK Ruhe had some experience with shooting on the water, but ‘never to the extent’ of what appears in The Boys in the Boat . “I’d never shot a rowing race before; it’s very specific. Rowing is a weird sport because all the rowers move. It’s hard to capture and not that expressive,” he continues. The boats are sensitive to waves and wind, while the oars prevent camera boats from getting too close. “You can only shoot from certain angles, which makes it quite complicated.” Ruhe was also initially at a loss regarding external references to rowing. “I tried to find imagery, but there’s not that much out there,” he remarks. “There’s a little sequence in The Social Network , but that’s only a minute. I think our final boat race is eight minutes, and we have other boat races which are really long. So it was hard to find something.”



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