As ground breaking as Willis

As ground breaking as Willis’ lightingwas, the subtle techniques we would use for lighting the main characters in thefilm would be a new approach in his cinematography and cinema in general up tothat point. Nobody would separately light individuals based on theircharacteristics and arcs, but Willis found ‘TheGodfather’ to be a perfect platform in this family based gangster epic toexperiment.┬áMichael Corleone’s face remainsrelatively bright lit for most of the film, but as he starts mixing up in thefamily business, his face slips in and out of the dark as his innocent andvillainous sides wrestle to dominate him.

Only in the romantic, Siciliansection does Michael break away to a softer, subtler light that seems to offerthe chance to a care-free, richly coloured happiness. But the fantasy of escapequickly becomes an illusion as his wife dies in a car bomb. By the end of thefilm, the shadows over his eyes signal that his darkness has eclipsed hislight. When becoming the new Godfather, his face is shrouded in the dark, morehidden and menacing than his father ever was.


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