Friday, 9 January 2009

Michael Mann's eye for detail - Ali

For those now familiar with Michael Mann's movies, especially his biopic movies, you will notice his perfectionist eye for detail. Mann's lust for authenticity is unsatiable, and creatively vitally important to him. It is the foundation of his working philosophy. Without authenticity the movie loses resonance and the sense of reality that is needed to tell the story effectively. More importantly, detail is needed to convince the audience into the world of Mann's screen characters.

Whilst the 2009 film, Public Enemies, was made on actual locations where Dillinger's gang raided banks and uses authentic weapons of the period, this will not be the first example of Mann's vision for detail and documentary type reality. In Mann's biopic movie, Ali, we read from the article below of Mann's intense attention to detail. There are many articles about the movie Ali, this is just one comment a writer has made about this movie. You can see the full article by clicking here.

Michael Mann's Ali

by Anna Dzenis

Mann's desire to be true to the visual record of the decade, to historical memory, and his extraordinary efforts to accurately portray real life characters and events, are well documented. His cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki describes how closely they studied photographs of Ali's life and fights, scrutinizing “every detail – every lamp, every piece of furniture, and every window'. (3) Production designer John Myhre relates the way they rebuilt The Tiger Lounge in Chicago where Ali danced with his first wife Sonji. The former club had become a furniture shop, but “they pushed away the furniture, put up a couple of walls and shot the scenes on the site where Ali's first romance had blossomed”. (4) Key fights in Ali's life are recreated blow by blow. Even Howard Bingham, Ali's close friend and personal photographer, was enlisted as a consultant on the film. A production snapshot shows Mann intently holding a photograph of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in front of the actors playing these parts, and so on.

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