DEFINITION September 2022 - Web


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Pachinko is actually a pinball-like game popular in Japan. Book author Min Jin Lee saw the game as a metaphor for life – it is usually rigged, but people still play it.

SHAPESHIFTING The show plays around with aspect ratio, switching from widescreen 2:1 to a boxy 4:3 for the special episode

hand-coloured black & white aesthetic, developed by colourist Tom Poole of Company 3. The episode ostensibly tells the story of Hansu, who was trying to get to the US in search of his fortune, but soon turns into the devastating story of the 1923 earthquake that hit Yokohama. Director Kogonada – a proponent of the use of form – was keen to direct it with its new shape, bringing Hoffmeister with him, who wasn’t slated to shoot at all. Bringing in such a boxed aspect ratio would again ask a lot of the audience; they had to imagine what else was going on in the frame, having had the luxury of a widescreen view before. “It’s almost like looking through a keyhole,” comments Hoffmeister. “There were certain rules we had to adhere to with the rest of the show, but here we could step out of that.” BIGGER CAN BE BETTER For all episodes apart from 7, Hoffmeister and Kogonada had decided to shoot in widescreen at around 2:1 aspect ratio. The idea stemmed from this sense of space mixed with ideas on close-ups, leading to the use of large format cameras and “There were certain rules we had to adhere to, but here we could step out of that”

lenses. His experience with large format became an opportunity to keep this idea of space – and have a feeling of intimacy at the same time. “With large format cameras, the field of view is slightly bigger, due to the larger sensor. To me, even if some people dispute this mathematically, I think it’s a format that enables you to depict space while being close to characters. So, on large format I can use a 40mm lens – which is a nice close-up lens, but has roughly the field of view of a 32mm. He chose Sony Venice cameras and Panavision Panaspeeds for optics. “We tested a few lenses, but wanted something that had a very pleasing roll-off in terms of out-of-focus areas. Also, we didn’t want something with a very strong period feel,

so it shouldn’t interfere. Almost as if the glass is the layer through which you see. You want it to be clear, but with a hint of romanticism.” Pachinko almost harks back to saga genre storytelling, like Rich Man, Poor Man or Winds of War . It’s the televisual equivalent to the big holiday novel. But if you watch it, you’re in for a treat, especially if your immigration story still needs resolving. The one and only season of Pachinko is available on Apple TV+. Hoffmeister’s most recent project, Todd Field’s Tár , is premiering in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival. He is currently in pre-production in Iceland for the new season of HBO’s True Detective

13. SEPTEMBER 2022

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