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People in Film | Harris Savides
Posted December 01, 2010 to photo album "People in Film | Harris Savides"
We turn the lens on Harris Savides, the acclaimed cinematographer of Sofia Coppola’s award-winning film Somewhere.
Harris Savides | The films of Gus Van Sant
In a conversation with Madonna published in Interview magazine, Gus Van Sant remembers the first time he heard of Harris Savides. “I was making a commercial for Levi's several years ago, and the art director said that they had just worked with Harris Savides,” recalls Van Sant. “And they were sort of pushing him on me. They said, ‘Madonna doesn't work with anyone else.’ So I went, ‘Well, shit. If Madonna won't work with anyone else. . . .’” Van Sant hired Savides on his 2000 film, Finding Forrester, beginning a collaboration that has spanned six features. While Finding Forrester was a more traditional drama reminiscent of Van Sant’s earlier Good Will Hunting, their next film, Gerry, would be a pivotal work for both men. Set in the desert of the American West, the film followed two friends who become hopelessly lost while hiking. The movie used long takes, hypnotic Steadicam shots, and it broke completely with the visual language of commercial American cinema. Said Savides at Moving Image Source, “Gerry was, for me, a really important film. It was a milestone. After working through Gerry, I felt like I understood filmmaking for the first time. In working so simply, I gained a confidence that I never had before.” Van and Savides followed up Gerry with Elephant, a multi-perspective tale of a Columbine-like high school shooting, with Savides’ camera eerily floating through school hallways behind the heads of shooters and victims alike. Savides won cinematography awards from the New York Film Critics Circle for both films, and he also shot the final film, Last Days, in what has become known as Van Sant’s “death trilogy.”