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                                              crucially doubling for the novel’s Nigeria and Spain’s Costa del Crime. For Bobbitt, once banned from apartheid-torn South Africa during his news-gathering days, there was more than a touch of déjà vu about the trip because last year one of his Canterbury Tales also required the Republic to stand-in for Nigeria.
Bille Eltringham hadn’t read the book before seeing the script. “But,” she told me, “I have a lot of gay friends and they had talked about it a lot and loved it. So I was intrigued.
“I wasn’t sure about the subject matter – for me, gangster films tend to be a bit full of mindless posturing. But the scripts and book are beautiful, and I’m always attracted to good writing.
“Yes, this is my first period piece and it posed a whole set of different challenges. But I found that very excit- ing. I have a particular way of filming that’s quite energetic and I have had to learn to be a bit more patient.”
Working with Bobbitt was an added lure, she said. “I like the way he moves the camera and his background is news which, I think, suited the ener- getic style I wanted. And yes, it was almost all hand-held.
“When I met Sean I was describing looking through my parents’ photo album – the stuff before I was born – and saying that I liked the way some colours – crimsons, baby blue, mus- tard – seem to survive and punch through. The rest seemed to be rather ghostly traces, yet still contrasty with velvety blacks.
“Even without the clues of the hair- dos and fashions, you know exactly which decade they come from. With The Long Firm,” she added firmly, “I wanted to feel like I was walking through those albums.” ■ QUENTIN FALK
The Long Firm is principally originated on 16mm Fujicolor F-500T 8672 Motion Picture Negative
“It’s not just about blokes with guns; it’s about character and emotions.”
he overall ‘look’ developed after talking with the director, as well as looking at some films of that era [like 1971’sVillain] and trying to get
a sense of the period without it being too contrived or too clean.
Our story is quite dark and twisty so you are looking for a sort of dark and grainy look, but not overly so. Basically, you’re trying to find a style that com- plements and helps the story along.
We tested a number of stocks and in the end found that the Fujicolor F- 500T just had the right colour palette to it. Working with the designer, we had a very specific colour range that we wanted to work with for all the episodes. The F-500T complemented those colours very nicely and also worked well in relation to some of the reference photos we’d been given of the 60s and 70s. It also had the grain structure we were looking for.
At this time of year [January/ February] with exterior shooting in the UK you want to give yourself as fast a stock as possible just so you can shoot that extra 20-30 minutes at the end of the day.
As part of the overall ‘look’, I’m shooting the F-500T uncorrected for outdoors and then pulling it back par- tially in telecine so that we get a cold overall feel to the piece. That’s worked out nicely. You do tend to get a slight- ly different feel if you grade back from the cold as opposed to correcting all the way and grading the cold in. That’s also helped to maintain the consistency of the look throughout. ■
  trast; which is where the overall look for the four episodes has come from. So we’ve been working with the dark- ness but also with a lot of contrast; there’s very little fill throughout the whole thing.” Bobbitt said that the aim was “a consistent feel, because it’s still about Starks even though we’re seeing him from four different perspectives.”
There were, he admitted, some “subtle variations” however, which were unique to each episode. “With Derek Jacobi, as opposed to all hand- held, it tends to be much more tradi- tional in terms of some very static shots as well as track and dolly shots.
“With Phil Daniels as a sort of mad, crazy figure, the camera’s often follow- ing over his shoulder in order to watch the world through his eyes. With Lena, there are slight changes again. It’s all a bit more glamorous and slightly brighter, as this is meant to be one of happier parts of Harry’s life.”
Providing an even starker contrast with London’s mean streets will be the result of a final ten days shooting in South Africa with the ‘Rainbow Nation’, specifically Johannesburg and Durban,
 Fuji Motion Picture And Professional Video • Exposure • 11

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