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How John Ford Westerns Inspired the Cinematography of ‘Banshees of Inisherin’

When “Banshees of Inisherin” cinematographer Ben Davis received the script for the film, his reaction was that while there were many explanations, it was conflict that spoke to him. “Especially men are in conflict and how most wars are made and caused by men, they probably could have settled that, and they didn’t need to do that,” Davis says.

Directed by Martin McDonagh starring Colin Farrell as Padrick and Brendan Gleeson as Colm. The two have been friends for years, but when Pádraic goes to call Colm for his usual afternoon walk to the pub, Colm pretends he doesn’t see or hear him. When Colm finally makes his way to the inn, he tells Pádraic that he doesn’t love him anymore, and simply doesn’t want to be his friend anymore.

For Davies, the key to framing the story was distance.

Davis says he’s had conversations with McDonagh about the movie being almost like a Western. Even in his storyboard, McDonagh who storyboarded for the entire movie used Western-inspired imagery. Davis says, “There was a lot of John Ford-style shots shooting through doorways and windows to separate characters.”

See Davis’s Old Westerns as “The Searcher” for visual references.

It was a scene that Davis found difficult when Keri Condon’s character Siobhan finally left the island on a boat. There was a crew on the boat and a crew with a Farrell figure waving goodbye. “It was quite treacherous territory,” says Davis. “It was difficult to get the equipment there because it had to go on a small ferry, and the roads are very narrow. We only had very small vehicles, and many of the sites were not accessible by road. land at all.” He adds that Farrell’s character also had to stand on the edge of a 300-foot cliff.

Another scene that stuck with Davis was the confession scenes with Gleeson. He wanted to capture the emotional aspects of the scene. At the moment, Davis says the character is suffering from depression and has been shut down. He is in despair. “I wanted to get the camera really close to him, and I wanted to see him in the eyes in those moments.” “I felt incredibly sympathetic to him because I’m at that age, and I’ve come of age looking at your life,” Davis says. “You think, ‘What have I done in my life?’ Where are you headed? “

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