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Barry Lyndon, by Kubrick: fully shot with natural light

18 enero, 2017  —  By

Barry Lyndon is a film shot in 1975 based on the novel of the same name by William Makepeace Thackeray and directed by the wonderful Stanley Kubrick who managed to get 4 Academy Awards for his best artistic direction, best photography, best costumes and best music, as well as having been nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture.

Barry Lyndon, Synopsis

The film is set around the figure of Redmond Barry, played by Ryan O’Neal, an Irish boy determined to become an important and wealthy man who ends up enlisting in the British army, then moving on to the Prussian army where he becomes In spy

In the meantime, Redmond Barry meets an expert in the game who ends up teaching him the art of cards. Art that will be wisely used by Barry to climb socially even getting married with Countess Lady Lyndon, played by Marisa Berenson.

Barry Lyndon, by Kubrick: fully shot with natural light
Barry Lyndon, by Kubrick: fully shot with natural light

After settling in England and becoming a rich and influential man, Redmond Barry ends up adopting the name of Barry Lyndon. Nevertheless things will change when trying to have a title of nobility.

This film is considered one of the jewels of contemporary cinema for several reasons: On the one hand it is completely filmed with decorations of the time, but the aspect that makes it outstanding is that it is entirely rolled with natural lig

Barry Lyndon, by Kubrick: fully shot with natural light
Barry Lyndon, by Kubrick: fully shot with natural light


For interior or night scenes the only lighting used was candlelight.

In order to achieve this peculiar illumination, camera lenses were used. The aspect that makes it stand out is that it is entirely rotated with very bright natural light (Zeiss focal length 50 mm and aperture F0.7) and a special treatment was carried out on The negative.

It is undoubtedly this technique that has endowed this film with an exceptional photograph that offers spectators a dark aesthetic and peculiar that corresponds to the tonality of the paintings of the eighteenth century, the time in which the film runs.

The soundtrack is an excellent complement to the film’s aesthetic, containing classic pieces such as the Paisiello Seville Barber, a Schubert or Bach trio and Haendel’s zarabanda.

Barry Lyndon

Despite being nominated for 7 Oscars and having won 4, Barry Lyndon was Kubrick’s only non-profit film.

Kubrick felt particularly identified with Napoleon, so at first the film had been thought about the life of the same.

However the project did not prosper and years later when Kubrick read the book of Makepeace Thackeray, decided to adapt this novel, taking advantage of the documentation of era that it had of century XVIII.

To give it that canvas and flat image aspect of eighteenth-century paintings, Kubrick used the zoom at all times in order to achieve that effect. In fact, NASA provided Kubrick with the only lenses capable of admitting the dim light with which he illuminated some interior scenes.

Although the film, produced by Warner Bros, had allocated a budget of 2.5 million dollars, Kubrick invested 11 million, which represented the biggest commercial failure of his career.