Definition December 2020 - Web

THE TR I AL OF THE CH I CAGO 7 | PRODUCTION

RIGHT Shooting wide and using light creates a balance between characters in scenes where there are multiple involved, such as here, in the practice interrogation scene

but we only had 200 extras, so we had to be smart about how we covered those scenes. It was helpful not to get wide. If you look at Haskell’s original footage, you can see that the event happened on a nice, sunny day. Unfortunately, filming took place in October and I was battling with leaves turning brown, but the use of smoke for tear gas helped and I was able to isolate some leaves and colour correct them in post.” For Sorkin, there was a visual beat that was important to hit, such as the throwing of a molotov cocktail or the baton hits that caused bloody head injuries. This signalled a violence that the defendants had lost control of. But Papamichael felt it was also important to show the early tensions in the crowd, so he tried to capture key moments along the way. “For example, the woman who is pulled to the ground by three men and sexually assaulted is seen in earlier scenes, carrying an American flag and being shouted at with abuse by the same three men,” he says. “It brings an energy to the My biggest concern was figuring out how to juice up the visual stagnancy of a courtroom drama

film because, of course, my biggest concern was figuring out how to juice up the visual stagnancy of a courtroom drama.” CONSPIRACY OFFICE In a climatic one-two punch, William Kunstler [the Chicago 7’s lawyer] grills Hayden during a practice interrogation before he takes the stand. It involves a tape recording that has incriminating evidence of Hayden exhorting a rally crowd to “make sure that if blood is going to flow, let it flow all over the city”. Once again, though, Papamichael had to convince the director to get coverage of all defendants in that scene. “Sorkin was only concerned with getting close-ups of Kunstler, Hayden and the tape recorder, but there were ten other people in the room,”

he explains. “Plus, Hoffman interrupts the interrogation to reveal that Hayden doesn’t use personal pronouns, and that what he meant was, ‘if our blood is gonna flow, let it flow all over the city’. This is a crucial moment and it was important to at least feel him, as well as the other defendants, in the seconds leading up to that point.” Papamichael shot the close-ups and then also suggested shooting wide, using light instead of framing to create a hierarchy between the characters. “I had the defendants up against a wall in the fall off of the light, which was a lamp situated on the table between Kunstler and Hayden. Those two appeared brighter, while the others were darker, more subdued. Of course, Sorkin liked it, but it’s not like he would come to me and ask me for that. I had to try and understand what he wanted, and I made sure he got exactly that, plus some extra little candies along the way.” He conludes: “Thankfully, our editor, Alan Baumgarten, was happy to embrace all the extra footage!” THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 IS CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX WORLDWIDE

DECEMBER 2020 | DEF I N I T ION 23

definitionmagazine.com

Powered by