Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1993) - Rotten Tomatoes

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography1993

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1993)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Featuring clips from over one hundred films and interviews with numerous famed directors of photography, the documentary Visions of Light: The Art of the Cinematographer provides a general overview of the history of cinematography by focusing on some of the cinema's greatest visual achievements. Though all periods are covered, from the early days black and white expressionism and experimentation to the refined techniques of modern-day color cinematography, the film refrains from a strict chronology. Instead, Visions of Light is structured around a series of interviews by screenwriter and film critic Todd McCarthy, whose subjects include such notables as Michael Chapman, Ernest Dickerson, James Wong Howe, Gordon Willis, Vittorio Storaro, and Haskell Wexler, among others. These acknowledged greats discuss the details behind the making of their own films, in extended reminiscences providing an illuminating glimpse at their technique and methods. They also speak about the films and cinematographers that most influenced them, allowing the film to present a sense of historical perspective. These conversations, worthwhile as they are, are merely a frame for the documentary's true subject, which can be found in the film clips themselves, which are presented in pristine condition, showing their beauty and richness to full advantage.


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Critic Reviews for Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

It's an excellent introduction to the neglected magic of the cameraman, bolstered by a revolving supporting feature chosen from the examples discussed in the film.

November 13, 2017 | Full Review…

[Visions of Light] is a documentary that will likely cause everyone who sees it to look at movies a little differently in the future.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

This breathtaking documentary sheds brilliant light (and subtle shading, too) on the history and practice of cinematography.

June 15, 2007 | Full Review…

Absolutely superb documentary with haunting score.

December 19, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

You will never watch movies the same way after seeing this great documentary.

October 7, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

One of the few films that's just as amazing with the sound turned off.

April 1, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography

Representing hollywood films the way they were truly made behind the camera, "Visions of Light" is a perfect documentary, showcasing many classic films of the past and how they were shot and lit in every way and the struggles it took to get to that perfect look. Filmmakers across the globe were interviewed giving their voices so that people can understand exactly what goes into the planning process for such a big production. It is a pretty fascinating film to watch, even though some endings for films are spoiled throughout, so proceed through the film with caution. I loved every second of this film and it held my attention all the way through.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

A good collection of perspectives on the art of cinema that drags on occasion and is not ultimately memorable.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


A documentary for true cinephiles that shows that, despite what the 'auteurs' would have us believe, the input of the cinematographer should never be underestimated. A great documentary that concentrates on the real unsung heroes of pure cinema - giving them (and their imagery) the reverence they so richly deserve (cast your eye over any Flixter profile and the list of favourite film-makers are always directors). It also happens to be everything a documentary should be - Informative, very entertaining and, above all, enlightening (no pun intended!)

William Sleet
William Sleet

Super Reviewer

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