All Time Favorites Cinematography

Memories and its effective use of Night and low light scenes throughout

Jeethu Joseph’s 2013 movie Memories still remains one of the finest investigative thrillers to have come out in Malayalam Cinema. One of its most distinguishing features is how the movie is shot in low light or night for the most part. The movie starts at night. The interval is at night. The climax is at night. A look through how Jeethu Joseph effectively uses night, darkness and low light scenes throughout the film

The film starts with a night scene – when Sam Alex (Prithviraj) and his men raid a building of bad guys and knock them down.
Jeethu Jospeh doesn’t take time to establish the skills of his hero first itself – that he looks at even minute details around him to his advantage( something which you will realize more through the movie). In this frame, he finds a mirror piece to check where exactly the bad guy is in the other side of the wall before attacking him
Even several scenes in day are shot in low light – Here Sam Alex’s re-introduction shot after 3 years is in middle of liquor bottles to show his transformation.
So is this scene where Sam walks to the church for the funeral of his wife and kid
Low Lighting and shadows are effectively used through the movie. This particular scene has Sam waking up in shock dreaming about his kid and wife. The dark tone looming all through the movie goes along with the mood of the investigation and Sam’s feelings.
Even the only song in the movie is beautifully picturized in low light
Another impressive frame from the song
One of the movie’s heartening scenes where Sam apologizes to his mother for losing temper is shot in low light too
Another frame that uses low key lighting effectively is when Sam Alex enters the building in search of his wife and kid
Sujith Vassudev won Kerala State award in 2013 for his cinematography work in Memories ( he got awarded for both Ayaal and Memories). We cannot agree more that his work was terrific.
Prithviraj in Memories
The interval block where Sam finds that the marks on the bodies of victims are aramaic letters and deciphers what the killer is trying to convey – It again happens at night
This chase scene on a rainy night which shows us how Sam’s alcoholic behaviour started affecting his wok is executed brilliantly. Jeethu Josephs finest screenplay is Drishyam without a doubt. But as a director, his making quality is a notch above in Memories.
Then there is movie’s most iconic shot where Sam Alex cries loud to the sky after failing miserably to catch hold of the serial killer. It still amazes me to date how Prithviraj couldnt win a state award for his phenomenal jobs in Mumbai Police and Memories in the same year in 2013.

There is never a single moment in the movie when he comes out of the alcoholic character. When he investigates, finds important breakthroughs, gets tensed while closing in on the killer – He reacts to all the scenes in the movie with the face and body language of a person who is consuming alcohol all the time.
The scene where the killer is revealed to us and Sam Alex recollects that he has seen him at the start of investigation – Again in a dark, low-lit room.
The movie’s well executed climax is again at night. The room’s lighting is perfect as you get a whiste-worthy ending when Sam once again uses his wit to outsmart the killer and shoot him.

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