Behind The Scenes Interesting

The Sound of Gravity

Skip Lievsay on the Sound of Gravity

The sound of Gravity is a crucial element of the film and in this Soundworks video director Alfonso Cuaron and Re-recording Mixer Skip Lievsay discuss how they (and the sound teams) created the dramatic soundscape of outer space.

SoundWorks Collection: The Sound of Gravity from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

Gravity opens in the UK on November 8th

> Official site
> LFF 2013 review

Cinema Festivals London Film Festival

LFF 2013: Gravity

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity - Image courtesy of Warner Bros 2013

Director Alfonso Cuaron returns after seven year absence from cinema with an exhilarating journey into outer space that sets new standards for visual effects.

When a seemingly routine US mission to fix the Hubble telescope goes disastrously wrong, two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) find themselves floating alone above the earth.

Like his last film, the dystopian drama Children of Men (2006), Cuaron and his crew have come up with a highly inventive approach to story, using a stunning blend of camera work and visual effects to create a chilling plausible dystopian world.

Whilst his latest doesn’t have the thematic depth of that film, it remains a gripping thrill ride, utilising cutting edge technology to elicit human emotion and create a powerful tale of survival.

For most of the film we are with a stranded Bullock as she struggles to find a way back home and this is her best role in years. She makes a convincing astronaut but also channels a wide range of emotions from panic to resolve.

As for Clooney, his character is cleverly used and he brings his usual charm and screen presence to his role as a veteran spaceman. An off-screen voice cameo from Ed Harris is a tip of the hat to his famous role in the last major space drama, Apollo 13 (1995).

For Cuaron this is another step in his chameleon-like career, which has included genres such as fantasy, Charles Dickens, the road movie, Harry Potter and sci-fi. Here he takes a bold step into the world of digital cinema and 3D and the result is as impressive as his previous work.

To describe Gravity as science fiction doesn’t feel right quite right.

For most of its lean 87 minute running time it feels terrifyingly realistic, even if in retrospect some of the narrow escapes feel a little bit too last second.

But make no mistake, this is a truly groundbreaking film with highly innovative camera work from Cuaron’s regular cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and stunning visual effects supervised by Tim Webber of Framestore (a previous collaborator).

The extraordinary long take that begins the film sets a marker for what is to come with shots of the various space craft and earth below that are a marvel to behold on a big screen.

Using a complex mixture of camera rigs, LED lighting panels, groundbreaking CGI and even puppeteers from the stage version of War Horse, the zero gravity of outer space is brilliantly realised, with the earth below just as convincing.

Cuaron and his team have wisely opted to use technology in service of the central story, which was perhaps the reason they opted for such a lean premise, and the result is a pure fusion of technology and emotion.

Sound, silence and a dramatic score by Steven Price also play a critical role in creating the extraordinary atmosphere of the film.

Although time will inevitably lead to more advanced visual effects, Gravity will still represent a landmark in modern cinema.

In a time of great uncertainty and opportunity for the medium, it represents how more traditional directors can utilise digital tools to tell a spellbinding story.

Gravity screened at the London Film Festival on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th October

(It opens in the UK on Friday 8th November)

> Official site
> Reviews of Gravity at Metacritic

Cinema Interviews Podcast

Interview: Jonás and Alfonso Cuarón on Año Uña

Año Uña is a new film directed by Jonás Cuarón about a Mexican teenager and an older American woman who meet one summer in Mexico.

Unusually, it was edited entirely from photographic stills and was made without a script or set.

I recently spoke to Jonás and his father Alfonso Cuarón, who served as an exec producer and is a noted director in his own right having made such films as Children of Men and Y Tu Mama Tambien.

We talked about this movie, the business of making films on a smaller scale, new distribution models for movies on the web and the wider future of cinema in general.

You can listen to the interview here:


Download it as a podcast via iTunes by clicking here.

Año Uña is out at selected UK cinemas from Friday 

> Download this interview as an MP3 file
> Get showtimes for the film via Google Movies
> IMDb entry for the film
> Official MySpace page
Jonás Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón at the IMDb
> Listen to an interview we did with Alfonso in 2007 about Children of Men

Interesting The Daily Video

The Daily Video: Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro González Iñárritu & Guillermo Del Toro

Charlie Rose hosted a very interesting roundtable discussion in 2006 with Mexican directors Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo Del Toro.

They discussed their respective films from that year (Children of Men, Babel and Pan’s Labyrinth) as well as their careers and friendships.

DVD & Blu-ray Interviews

Interview: Alfonso Cuaron on Children of Men

Since coming to prominence in his native Mexico with Sólo Con Tu Pareja (1991) Alfonso Cuarón has shown himself to be a remarkably versatile director.

His films have ranged from The Little Princess (1995), a beautifully crafted adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s novel to the exuberant road movie Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002).

After the international and critical success of that film he made Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), the third – and so far, best – instalment of the series.

Film & Artwork © 2006 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Children of Men was another shift in subject matter and tone, as he adapted P.D. James’ dystopian novel about infertility in a futuristic England.

Released in the UK last September (and the US in December) it garnered lavish critical praise and award recognition, winning 2 BAFTAs and 3 Oscar nominations.

It was richly deserved, as it remains one of the best films of last year.

It functions as a riveting thriller, but also explores contemporary issues with an intelligence that is rare in mainstream movies.

It also features some truly stunning cinematography from Emmanuel Lubezki, who has helped create images and sequences that will live long in the memory.

I recently spoke to Alfonso about the forthcoming release on DVD.

He was articulate, passionate and keen to discuss many aspects of the film, including:

  • His approach to the original novel
  • The documentary on the second disc called ‘The Possibility of Hope’
  • Filming during the London bombings
  • The narrative style of the film
  • Why he wanted it to be the ‘anti-Blade Runner
  • The visuals
  • How they shot some of the long takes
  • The importance of Clive Owen as a collaborator
  • What he thinks the film is ultimately about.

You can also download here it as an MP3 (just right click on the link and save it to your computer)

The Children of Men 2-disc Special Edition is available on DVD from 19th March, courtesy of Universal Pictures

(Film & Artwork © 2006 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.)

> Buy Children of Men on DVD or the Blu-ray from Amazon UK
> IMDb entry for Alfonso Cuaron
> Reviews for Children of Men at Metacritic
> Dana Stevens of Slate on why Children of Men is the ‘movie of the millenium’