How this moment changed a life in ‘The Fabelmans’
“It was very emotional,” Janusz Kamiński says about working on “The Fabelmans,” a life story from Steven Spielberg in which the director holds a mirror up to his own family portrait. “I learned so much about him before I came into his life,” the two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer shares with The Envelope. In revisiting Spielberg’s past, scenes were framed with an eye for classical composition while lighting was romanticized during the family’s stay in their New Jersey home. When young Sammy (a stand-in for Spielberg himself) is given a movie camera by mother, Mitzi (Michelle Williams), to help him overcome troubled dreams, the moment becomes an ebullient metaphor. “It really signifies what the movie is about,” Kamiński says. “He wanted to be loved like any other child, and accepted, rewarded and admired. He got the greatest gift of his life from her. Half of his genes are from her, which I think are his artistic tendencies, and the physical gift that allowed him to make movies.” Mitzi shines like an angel in the lower contrast image while the silver camera becomes a focal point. “I made the conscious decision to make the camera glow, to stand out almost like a talisman. He gets this magical thing that illuminates his path. And it did, you know.”
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