Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff (2010)

2011 #45
Craig McCall | 82 mins | TV (HD) | 1.78:1 | UK / English | PG

CameramanDocumentary telling the story of the career of cinematographer and director Jack Cardiff.

As the title implies, it focuses mainly on the former — despite the fact he directed 13 features, this part of his career is largely glossed over with a bit of discussion of one film, Sons and Lovers, which earnt some Oscar nominations (including one, slightly ironic, win). But that’s probably fine, because it’s for his work with the camera on films like A Matter of Life and Death, Black Narcissus, The Red Shoes and The African Queen that Cardiff is best known.

As a film, it doesn’t do anything fancy: talking heads, clips, photographs. There’s nothing wrong with that when your topic is engrossing and your content stands on its own. It’s a biography of Cardiff’s work, moving chronologically through his major contributions to cinema. The insights are numerous thanks to the number of films covered and a lot of footage from an interview with Cardiff himself. Though there are other interviewees, including some big names (just look at the list on IMDb), what Cardiff has to say of his own works dominates, which seems only proper.Man, camera

My overriding memory of the documentary is of a slew of beautiful-looking films, some well known and others not, but every one jumping onto want-to-see lists thanks to what’s shown here. Which just demonstrates how deserving Cardiff and his work are of a dedicated feature film of this quality.

4 out of 5

Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff is on Film4 and Film4 HD tonight at 1:20am, and Film4 +1 at 2:20am (of course).
Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff is on Film4 at 1:20pm.

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