Roger Deakins Plays My Favorite Scene: 'It's Totally Chilling... and Quite Brilliant'
Much of the emotional power of Joel and Ethan Coen's Best Picture contender True Grit comes from the contributions of longtime collaborator and nine-time Oscar nominee Roger Deakins, a cinematographer whose compositions and visual choices lend the Western a subtle, nostalgic quality. It's fitting, then, that when Deakins played My Favorite Scene with Movieline recently, he pointed toward a film that also utilizes the understated to great -- but very different -- effect.
"I could pick any scene from Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows," Deakins began. "Any single scene in the whole film is perfect!"
The veteran cinematographer and documentarian explained why Melville's stylistic choices resonated so well with the story of French underground operatives in WWII -- especially in the film's early morally-ambiguous murder scene.
"There's a scene where the resistance fighters have to execute one of their own who has given information to the Nazis, who has been a traitor," he recalled. "And they're in this room in this safe house and they've got the guy sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, and the resistance fighters are discussing how they're going to execute him, right in front of him. The way it's shot, in such a matter-of-fact way, it's totally chilling. And quite brilliant."
"It's just so simple and it conjures this world in such an incredible way. It immerses you in those characters, that world, and it represents this terrible conflict between these French resistance fighters and the things they have to do -- and the fact that they're just normal people thrown into this situation of extreme moral dilemmas."
Watch the scene below and stay tuned for Monday's full Movieline Interview with Oscar nominee Roger Deakins.