In most cases, books about films are published long after the film has been made, after it’s won enough regard that people want to delve behind the scenes to appreciate it on another level (the exception being blockbuster films, whose companion books are a regular part of the accompanying onslaught of merch).
But when a film’s director also happens to be an accomplished photographer, tie-in books take an elevated form. The book of photographs accompanying Anton Corbijn‘s most recent film, A Most Wanted Man, a spy thriller set in Hamburg, Germany, is compelling for a number of reasons. The candid images of the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, writer John Le Carré (the author of the book on which the film is based), Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, Rainer Bock and other members of the cast and crew show some of the filmmaking atmosphere and hint at the relationships between the actors and their director. Corbijn’s handwritten captions are full of little stories and, perhaps most interesting for photographers who are budding filmmakers, often include details about the filmmaking process, and Corbijn’s directorial decisions and the reasoning behind them. “Spring and autumn are wonderful seasons that bring change,” Corbijn writes in one caption, explaining his decision to set the film in the fall. “On a broader spectrum, I felt that 9/11 was the change from summer to autumn for mankind, and that was for me the mood and setting for this film.” – Conor Risch
Looking at A Most Wanted Man (Schirmer/Mosel) by Anton Corbijn is currently available.