"Scorsese wasn't thinking correctly" says Marvel cinematographer Dante Spinotti

Oscar-nominated cinematographer also discussed his son’s directorial debut, Now Is Everything.

By Tiffany Pritchard 2 Dec 2019

"Scorsese wasn't thinking correctly" says Marvel cinematographer Dante Spinotti
Dante Spinotti. Credit: Black Nights Film Festival

Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dante Spinotti has hit back at Martin Scorsese’s claim Marvel films are “not cinema” but more like “theme parks”.

“I think probably Scorsese wasn’t thinking correctly when he said what he said,” said Spinotti, who was director of photography on Marvel feature Ant-Man And The Wasp.

“I divide movie-making into two large categories: good movies and bad movies. That’s all there is to it. Why say what’s a movie and isn’t a movie? I don’t see the point.”

The veteran cinematographer made the comments at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia. He added: “Those guys [Marvel] know what they are doing, and will help you out with whatever you need. That is why their films are so successful.”

Best known for his work on LA Confidential, Heat and Last Of The Mohicans, Spinotti was in Tallinn this week with Now Is Everything, the feature directorial debut of his son and daughter-in-law, Riccardo Spinotti and Valentina De Amicis.

“Any other family would have made a gift to the newlyweds with an apartment, maybe a car. In Hollywood we produce their movie,” he laughed.

The neo-noir drama, on which Spinotti is both cinematographer and producer, is about a fashion photographer searching for his missing girlfriend. It received its world premiere in the festival’s Rebels With A Cause section.

The film stars Georgian newcomer Irakli Kvirikadze in the central role but has a cast that includes Anthony Hopkins, His addition was something of a chance occurrence.

“One day we were walking in the mall and crossed paths with Anthony Hopkins, who has been a friend for a long time,” recalled Spinotti, who previously worked with the Oscar-winning actor on Red Dragon and Slipstream.

“He said ‘What is your son doing?’ so we said he just started shooting his movie. He said, ‘What? I want to be in Riccardo’s movie.’”

The cast also includes Camille Rowe, Madeline Brewer, Mickey Sumner (daughter of Sting) and Ray Nicholson (son of Jack).

The low budget project was shot in 21 days, and was predominantly self-financed by Spinotti. His aim was to provide his son, who was a student at the American Film Institute, with the beginnings of a strong portfolio.

Red Sea Media handles international sales of the film, which is screeniing at the Torino Film Festival in Italy following its Black Nights debut.

Speaking at a sold-out masterclass, Spinotti added that working with Michael Mann on Heat provided some of his most memorable experiences as a cinematographer. When asked if Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro were indeed sat together during the now-famous diner scene, he laughed and said, “Yes, I get this question all the time. They were together, and we shot over-the-shoulder.”

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