Gordon Willis, ASC. Photo by Douglas Kirkland
Here are Gordon Willis' thoughts on filmmaking from his 1994 Kodak OnFilm ad. This ad predates the time when we published the extended transcript from the interview. His words still resonate 20 years later.
"There aren't any unbendable rules in filmmaking. It's an organic process. In the first Godfather, you saw only Brando's eyes selectively, because we didn't want the audience to know what was going on inside his head all the time. Visual subtext is interesting, because you're making an audience think in a certain way. The trick is to take something that's quite sophisticated and reduce it to the simplest possible terms... The use of relativity on the screen is wonderful: light and dark, big and small, good and evil. What you see and what you don't...magic in a frame."
Gordon Willis' credits include Klute, The Godfather, The Paper Chase, Parallax View, The Godfather: Part II, The Drowning Pool, All the President's Men, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Zelig, Pennies From Heaven, Broadway Danny Rose, Presumed Innocent, The Godfather: Part III and Malice, among others.