Cinematographer Mihai Malaimare is quickly gaining a celebrated reputation with his compelling cinematography on some of the most acclaimed working directors’ films of late. After working with Francis Ford Coppola on his late 2000s trifecta of Youth Without Youth, Tetro, and Twixt, Malaimare partnered with Paul Thomas Anderson to shoot the brilliant The Master, which brought him several critics nominations and wins. More recently, he worked with Taika Waititi on the Oscar-winning Jojo Rabbit.
This month, Malaimare returns to theaters with Netflix’s The Harder They Fall. Directed by first-time feature filmmaker Jeymes Samuel, the film features a nearly all-Black cast playing real-life 19th century characters in a fictional story. Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, and Delroy Lindo lead a stellar cast in this action-packed film.
The Harder They Fall is in all aspects a revolutionary take on the Western genre, particularly in its lensing. Gone are the dusty, brown-dominant color palates of traditional Westerns. Instead, Malaimare’s camera reflects Samuel’s revisionist take with bright, vivid colors and atypical camera movements.
Here, in an interview with Awards Daily, Mihai Malaimare talks about working with first-time feature director Samuel and the infectious energy Samuel brought to the production. He describes their collective take on the film’s color palate and use of lighting to render nighttime scenes as you’ve never seen in a Western. Finally, Malaimare dives into some of the amazing shots within the film and how he pulled them off.
The Harder They Fall is currently playing in selected theaters. It will stream on Netflix beginning Wednesday, November 3.