MARCO PONTECORVO   AIC

 

Born: 8 November 1966, Rome, Italy, as son of dir Gillo Pontecorvo [1919-2006].

Education: Istituto di Stato per la Cinematografia e la Televisione 'Roberto Rossellini', Rome [1984-85].

Career: Started as clapper-loader [1983-85]. Became focus puller on 21 films and numerous commercials [1985-90]. From 1990-96, he worked as c.op & Steadicam op on 13 films and numerous commercials.

Ph commercials dir by Gigi Piola, a.o.

Appeared in the doc 'Giuliano Montaldo - Quattro volte vent'anni/Giuliano Montaldo - Four Times Twenty' [2012, Marco Spagnoli; ph: Daniele Bertero].

Awards: As doph: Coppa Enzo Serafin [1999] for 'Fuochino'; Premio Fotocinema [1999] for 'L'ospite'.

As dir: Venice FF 'Pasinetti Award' [2008] & Mar del Plata FF 'Best Film' nom [2008] for 'Pa-ra-da'.

Website: Marco Pontecorvo


'Eros' [2001]: 'Our early plan was to shoot in digital. We tested the Sony 24P HD camera, using all its features, and analyzing the results shot in different lighting conditions. After seeing the tests I told Michelangelo my thoughts. In short, I said that if his aim was to make this film with 'traditional' photography, then I saw no reason to shoot digitally. No digital medium has the resolving power of film, nor its 'body' or flexibility. On the other hand, if you wanted to interfere with the traditional rules of picture composition and image capture [for example, colorimetry], to achieve an alternative style of photography, digital might be a better choice.

'Eros' is a three-phase story, about the predicaments of a young couple. It has a typically Antonioni open ending. The script suggests there is a key element missing in the characters' make up - but there is hope for them. In the final chapter we see a hint that they may yet again find equilibrium.

To reinforce this expressionistic approach I wanted the photography to reflect this 'absence' - the missing element - to bring the spectator closer to the moods of the protagonists. I did this by subtracting red or blue [the most emotionally influential of the three primary colors] from each of the first two phases of the story. The final part would return to normal colorimetry, to suggest a rediscovered stable relationship. We decided to find and fix our definitive look in post-production. I knew we could do it at Cinecittà using Cineon, ARRI Laser and Inferno technologies. This would be the most relaxed way for our Maestro to interpret the final images. We also had to retain the highest possible resolution. In the end we realized we had no choice. We had to shoot on 35mm film. But we deliberately shot the various sequences in the traditional way, as if filming the final result, seemingly discounting our plan to remove two primary colors in post-production. Our only compromise at this stage was in the design of the costumes and sets. Otherwise, we lit purely to create the right atmosphere for each dramatic situation. This filming plan reassured Antonioni that, by starting with the highest quality medium - film - and then working on the 'atmosphere' using advanced digital technology, he would retain complete creative control.

This approach also influenced my choice of film. My main stock, chosen for its softness, pastel colors and extraordinary exposure latitude, was Vision 320T film 5277. Under low light levels I changed to the new Vision Expression 500T 5284. It shares many common features with the 5277. Both films are flexible and malleable; ideal for 'Eros', especially considering our post-production plans. I exploited the extremes of the central part of the curve, precisely so the image would be classically balanced. When composing the frame, we alternated between long tracking shots, graphically strong panoramic shots and sudden zooms, often using a wide-angle shot followed by a detail shot with a long lens.

Another reason for choosing film was because Michelangelo wants images where interior and exterior are perfectly balanced. When we shoot interiors he wants to see everything, even what's outside the windows, and vice versa. Film [especially our two choices], with its much wider exposure latitude compared with 24P, gave us much better coverage of this important visual feature.

On the other hand, Michelangelo is a great lover of the 'pan-focus', preferring images where everything is in focus. Here, 24P, with its greater depth of field, may have offered something more than film. Antonioni does not like selective focus. When we were shooting interiors he would insist that both the subject and the background be in focus. This often meant that I had to use a shorter focal length [25/32mm], increase the light levels and reduce the aperture for greater depth of field. This led me to alternate between the 320T and the 500T. Interestingly, we found little difference in the costs of shooting in film compared with digital. The two estimates were similar, allowing us to make our choice of medium in total creative freedom.' [From the KODAK InCamera website, July 2002.]


 

 FILMS

1989

Fallo! [Andrea Gropplero] 16mm/c; short/12m

1990

Passami il burro!/Pass Me the Butter! [Andrea Gropplero] 16mm/c; short/13m

1994

Bluff [Alessandro Colizzi] c; short/7m

1995 

Binari/Tracks [Carlotta Cerquetti] c; short/8m

1996 

La tregua/The Truce [Francesco Rosi] c; cph: Pasqualino De Santis; was c.op, but took over ph after De Santis died

1997

Bambina in metro B [Vito Vinci] c; short/19m

1997

Metà [Giovanna Di Meglio] c; short/6m

1997

Piccoli ergastoli [Francesca d'Aloja, Pablo Echaurren & Valerio Fioravanti] v/c; doc/75m

1997

In barca a vela contromano/Physical Jerks [Stefano Reali] c

1997

Fuochino [Carlotta Cerquetti] c; short/7m

1997

I corti italiani [seg 'Una gioia involontaria' dir by Simona Izzo, 'Pollo, pollo, pollo' dir by Ricky Tognazzi, 'Stress metropolitano in rap' dir by Daniele Costantini, 'When in Rome...' dir by Federico Quadrani & 'Nostalgia di protezione' (8m) dir by Gillo Pontecorvo] c; 10 seg

1997

L'ospite/The Guest [Alessandro Colizzi] c

1999

Banana Splatter [Anne Riitta Ciccone] ?; short/9m; prod by RAI Cinema

1999

Gessetti [Andrea Papini] ?; short/7m; prod by RAI Cinema

1999

Falkehjerte/Katja's Adventure [Lars Hesselholdt] c

1999

Sulla spiaggia e di là dal molo/On the Beach Beyond the Pier [Giovanni Fago] c

2000

Voci/Voices [Franco Giraldi] c

2000

Gangs of New York [Martin Scorsese] s35/c; co-2uc (+ cph action unit); ph: Michael Ballhaus

2001 

Sei come sei [seg 'L'ospite' dir by Guerino Sciulli & 'Una seconda occasione' (13m) dir by Anselmo Talotta] HD (Thomson VIPER)-to-35mm/c; 6 seg

2001

La prossima volta [Fabio Simonelli] c; short/17m

2001

Eros [seg 'Il filo pericoloso delle cose/The Dangerous Thread of Things' dir by Michelangelo Antonioni] c; 3 seg; other ph: Christopher Doyle & Peter Andrews (= Steven Soderbergh); released in 2004; see above

2003

Perduto amor [Franco Battiato] c

2003

Undergroundklaustrofobia [Giovanni Runci] ?; short/?m

2005

Firewall [Richard Loncraine] s35/c; 2uc: Ciaran Kavanagh

2005

The Last Legion [Doug Lefler] s35/c; addph: Nic Milner

2008

My One and Only [Richard Loncraine] scope/c

2008

Prove per una tragedia siciliana/Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy [Roman Paska] s16-35bu/c; doc/77m; addph: Jonathan Nastasi

2009

Passione/Passion [John Turturro] RED-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c

2009

Letters to Juliet [Gary Winick] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c

2012

Fading Gigolo [John Turturro] 35mm-to-digital/c

 

 TELEVISION

1992

Mixer documenti [ep 'Il ritorno ad Algeri di Gillo Pontecorvo'] ep (b&w-c/58m) of doc series; combines a doc made by G. Pontecorvo (ph by Sandro Patrignanelli & Marco Pontecorvo [+ asst dir]) + interview; the combined program was ph by Piero Lombardi and dir by Andrea Bevilacqua; for RAI 2-tv

1995

Ennio Morricone [David Thompson] doc/b&w-c/54m; for BBC-tv & ZDF-tv

1997

Tutte le donne di Fassbinder/The Many Women of Fassbinder [Alessandro Colizzi] doc/b&w-c/51m

1998

Cuori in campo/Greener Fields/World Cup '98 [Stefano Reali] tvm; ph Italy; ph Canada: Richard Leiterman

1999

Le ragazze di Piazza di Spagna [2 ep dir by Riccardo Donna] 6-part series, 1998-2000; 3rd season, 2000; for Rai 2-tv

2000

Una storia qualunque [Alberto Simone] 2-part tvm

2002

My House in Umbria [Richard Loncraine] tvm; London ph: Peter Hannan

2004

Rome [ep #1 'The Stolen Eagle' dir by Michael Apted (MA), #2 'How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic' dir by MA, #3 'An Owl in a Thornbush' dir by MA, #4 'Stealing from Saturn' dir by Julian Farino, #6 'Egeria' dir by Alan Poul, #9 'Utica' dir by Jeremy Podeswa & #11 'The Spoils' dir by Mikael Salomon] 22-part (HBO-tv) series/s35-to-HD, 2005 & 2007; 1st season, 2005 (12 ep); other ph: Martin Kenzie (cph ep #1-3; ph #8) & Alik Sakharov (cph ep #1-3; ph #5, 7, 10 & 12); filmed 2004-05

2006

Rome [ep #14 'Son of Hades' dir by Allen Coulter, #16 'Testudo et Lepus (The Tortoise and the Hare)' dir by Adam Davidson, #18 'Philippi' dir by Roger Young, #20 'A Necessary Fiction' dir by Carl Franklin & #22 'De Patre Vostro (About Your Father)' dir by John Maybury] 2nd season, 2007 (10 ep); other ph: Alik Sakharov (ep #13 & 15) & Jonathan Freeman (ep #17, 19 & 21); see 2004

2010

Game of Thrones [ep #3 'Lord Snow', #4 'Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things' & #5 'The Wolf and the Lion' dir by Brian Kirk] series/HD (ARRI ALEXA), 2011-present; 1st season, 2011; addph (ep #4-5): Julian Court; other ph: Alik Sakharov & Matthew Jensen

 

 FILMS AS CAMERA ASSISTANT/OPERATOR

1985

Assicurazione sulla morte [Carlo Lizani; tvm] co-c.asst; ph: Marcello Gatti

1986

Cronaca di una morte annunciata/Chronicle of a Death Foretold [Francesco Rosi] c.asst; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1986

Dance Academy/Body Beat [Ted Mather] 2nd c.asst; ph: Dennis Peters

1987

Transformations [Jay Kamen] clapper-loader; ph: Sergio Salvati

1989

Dimenticare Palermo/The Palermo Connection/To Forget Palermo [Francesco Rosi] co-c.asst; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1990

Eurocops/Il commissario Corso (12 ep) [ep #6 'Senza prove' & #7 'L'ostaggio' dir by Gianni Lepre; tv-series] c.op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1991

Eurocops/Il commissario Corso [ep #9 'La sfida' & #11-12 'Patto con la morte' dir by Gianni Lepre] c.op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis; see 1990

1992

Mouche [Marcel Carné] c.op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis; unfinished

1992

Diario napoletano [Francesco Rosi] c.op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1992

Killer Rules [Robert Ellis Miller; tvm] c.op; ph: Ennio Guarnieri

1993

Fratelli del silenzio [Giancarlo Santi] c.op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis; status unknown; (filmed in 1999 as 'Con la voce del cuore', ph by Giancarlo Lodi)

1994

A Month by the Lake [John Irvin] c.op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1994

Cento di questi anni [Corrado Farina; doc] c.op; ph: Tonino Delli Colli

1994 

Les couleurs du diable/I colori del diavolo/The Colors of the Devil [Alain Jessua] c.op; ph: Pasqualino De Santis

1995

Viaggi di nozze [Carlo Verdone] c.op; ph: Danilo Desideri

1995

Croce e delizia [Luciano De Crescenzo] c.op; ph: Danilo Desideri

1996

La tregua/The Truce [Francesco Rosi] c.op (+ finished film as doph); ph: Pasqualino De Santis

 

 >>  ACTIVE AS DIRECTOR [FILMS & TELEVISION] SINCE 2003