SWAN SONG PRODUC T I ON .
“This intimacy between DOP and actor bleeds through the screen, helping the audience feel they are personally privy to the film’s events”
TEXTURE Close-ups give an insight into Mr Pat’s journey (right), as do the bleaker colours on screen (below)
revisit the cemetery, the funeral home, the gay bar and town fountain, while Mr Pat becomes more the person he once was. Warner Lewis describes how the delightfully simple, but effective montage shots were born from a desire to get back to basics in response to the film’s budget. ”We approached it as, ‘how do we follow him around?’ Money was pretty slim, so we tried to get a little bit pedestrian with it. We see him travelling right to left and left to right in different sequences.” As a result, we drink in the sights of the town, as well as Kier’s masterful performance – notably, his dandy and dainty gait. These long shots are beautifully balanced with a variety of close-ups of Kier and the rest of the cast, providing the film with a personal, authentic viewing experience. Warner Lewis worked with his versatile Arri Alexa Mini throughout the production. The compact, lightweight camera body facilitated him ditching the
vibrant settings within the film. “We wanted to start there, very desaturated and everything drained of life and colour – there’s not much going on, and as he gets out and starts to explore, the saturation comes up more and more, our lights get prettier and more colourful,” the DOP explains. The narrative is driven by Mr Pat’s feelings, his interactions with people along the way, and reactions to a town undergoing extensive renovations. “He goes through all these changes, not only in the gay community and learning what it‘s like to be in this new age of queer and dating, but rediscovering his town and how much it‘s changed as well,” says Warner Lewis. As such, the film employs a plethora of wide shots, inviting the viewer to experience Sandusky, along with our protagonist. The voyage is often painful and sometimes moves in circles. We visit and
tripod at the director’s request. Though it still presented a significant physical challenge, it was worth it to have an immense sense of control over the camera and develop a close dynamic with the cast. Warner Lewis explains: “Todd wanted it to be handheld, but it was physically demanding on me. Working with Udo Kier in that way, having the camera right in his face – and living in those close-ups a lot of the time – brought a great relationship between me, him and the other actors. I could see how they felt with where my placement was, and if I needed to adjust.” This intimacy between DOP and actor bleeds through the screen, helping the audience feel they are personally privy to the film’s events. As a significant portion of the narrative occurs outside throughout the day, the crew were faced with the usual obstacles of an unpredictable environment. “It was a heatwave when we were shooting
11. SEPTEMBER 2021
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