Upon viewing many of the top films this year there is one thing they all have in common, the lack of focus. I do not mean story focus but camera focus. Why is this? Most filmmakers/cinematographers strive to achieve focus, that beautiful rack focus between two characters drawing attention from one to the other. When something isn’t in focus it shouldn’t matter? Right? Or should it?
The two that stick out the most with me are Moonlight and Arrival. In both films, they use lack of focus as a story tool, but what are they trying to say? Are they invoking the audience to try and stay focused, or maybe the audience should focus more. Or is it because we carry these little cameras around with us that double as communication devices that achieve perfect focus, almost always. Are these filmmakers trying to wane poetic by shooting parts of scenes out of focus so they draw attention to the scene, making it feel different than the 99.99% of all the images we see in a day, making us think more about what they’re trying to say? These two films are my favorites of the year, mainly because of the visual landscapes directors Jenkins and Villeneuve achieved. Kudos for making me think differently on how I will approach a scene in the future.