October 26th, 2012 by Glendyn

I’m a bit late posting about the passing of the late, great cinematographer Harry Savides who passed away last week. Such an inspiration. He shot so many great films but I think my favourite is Gus Van Sant’s Last Days. The film is so beautifully shot. I remember seeing it with my Dad in a near empty cinema Kino in Melbourne when it was released years ago. I was so blown away by it’s minimalism, beauty and poetry. It’s become one of my favourite films. I left the cinema in awe, speechless. My Dad turned to me as we hit the foyer and said in disgust “Don’t you ever make a film like that…!”. Double speechless…!

So whenever I think of Harry Savides, I think of Last Days and when I think of Last Days apart from fathers ‘advice’ I think of this very simple but stunning scene…

After watching the above clip, watch how they shot it below. Something wonderful about watching a small crew work in unison. I often wonder why they didn’t lay all the track for the dolly and then remove the front pieces as they dollied back, and not have to relay and level on the fly. I like to think that not even Gus Van Sant can afford all the toys all the time and they only had a few lengths of track in the (small) grip truck. A perfect example of how necessity particularly in film making are nearly always the mother of invention.

Harry Savides, genius!

6 Responses to “R.I.P HARRY SAVIDES”

  1. Abobak Says:

    wow, I loved the work they did with this long track shot.. It was so clever!! and the final shot was so poetic

    I may not be familiar with his work but it is time for me to start getting to know him and look for his work in his remembrance!! He may rest in peace..

  2. Kriv Stenders Says:

    Love LAST DAYS. Had the amazing opportunity to watch the Avid cut with Gus Van Sant himself when he he came out to do the Aurora Script workshop back in 2005 with John Sayles. It was an amazing week spent talking about our scripts during the day and then getting pissed around the campfire talking movies. He was such a cool guy, very open and generous. It was such an aazing experience to have him ask for our opinions and input on the cut. That screening taught me so much and was the direct inspiration for me making BOXING DAY. I was really influenced by the sound design and the use of those beauitful long takes. RIP – Harry.

  3. Toby Oliver Says:

    Great Stuff. RIP Harry. Nice to see girls working in the grip department too.

  4. Glendyn Says:

    Totally Toby. Why do you think they didn’t build the full length of track and just remove the front pieces? Limited amount of track in the truck?

  5. Qiu Yang Says:

    Could just simply be they didn’t have any more tracks. He said in a interview that they had really low budget for his death trilogy that he was allowed to make the film even without script, that’s why he was able to try lots different stuff as well. And he also acclaimed that his death trilogy is largely influenced by hungarian bela tarr, who makes amazingly beautiful films with long and artfully designed moving shots, same as theo angelopoulos. If you love last days, you would definitely love all their works.

  6. Glendyn Says:

    Oh yeah… I’ve seen the opening of that Bela Tarr film where the camera tracks along side of the horse… I think I posted it here…? If not I should! Thanks!

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