Lubezki's iPhone 12 commercial

Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki has been relatively quiet since his stunning achievement of winning three Oscars in a row in 2013, 2014, and 2015. But now he’s back with a brief short film which hypes Apple’s newly announced iPhone 12 Pro, the first device that allows a person to “capture, edit, watch, and share Dolby Vision video.” Check out Lubezki’s iPhone 12 commercial below, featuring more of the type of gorgeous imagery for which he’s earned acclaim throughout his career.

Emmanuel Lubezki’s iPhone 12 Commercial

Apple held another event yesterday unveiling its new product line to the tech world, and the company hired Emmanuel Lubezki – Chivo, the “goat” himself – to create a short film that would showcase the iPhone 12 Pro’s video capabilities (via IndieWire). The resulting project, which features Lubezki’s narration being read underneath evocative and naturally lit subjects, is more of an artistically minded commercial than a narratively driven short film; it’s designed specifically to show you what kind of jaw-dropping images this device is capable of capturing.

Lubezki’s closing thought – that “the next great cinematographer or the next great film director is already making movies with one of these devices” – seems unlikely in practice since the device is not available yet, but his point still stands: this is another step toward the democratization of movies, and if an up-and-coming filmmaker has access to one of these, there should be no (equipment-based) reason why they can’t go out and make the next great attention-grabbing masterpiece.

Lubezki shot a commercial in 2018, a VR project in 2017, and Terrence Malick’s Song to Song that same year. Before that, though, he was very busy shooting projects like The Revenant, Birdman, Gravity, Burn After Reading, Children of Men, and Ali. (Bizarrely, he also shot the 2003 Mike Myers version of The Cat in the Hat, but let’s forget about that for the time being, shall we?) He obviously knows a thing or two about cinematography, and I’ll be interested to compare the inevitable movie(s) shot on the iPhone 12 Pro with his commercial to see if others are able to approximate his work.

Several feature films and impressive shorts have been shot on iPhones already. Sean Baker’s Tangerine is perhaps the first big example, taking the independent film scene by storm back in 2015, and the always-experimenting Steven Soderbergh has since done it twice, with both Unsane and High Flying Bird. To see La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s attempt to convince us that “vertical cinema” can be a thing, click here.

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