Antonio Calvache: 'Negative Diffusion' & Flashbacks

From American Cinematographer, Industry Town Embraces the Indies by Holly Willis (July 1998)

The flashbacks were originally slated to be shot in Pennsylvania (the location of Tom's hometown), but the film's budget prohibited the production from moving to the East Coast.

"Because there is nothing nearby L.A. that looks like Pennsylvania, we had to forget the realistic approach and substitute the lack of information in the landscape with the increasing emotional effect of the scene, achieved by a visual approach unique to these flashback scenes. I had experimented in still photography with a technique I term 'negative diffusion', which is using diffusion in the printing process from negative to positive, as opposed to diffusion used in the camera during exposure of the negative. I had used it for music videos during telecine, but it gets more complicated with film. We had to use an optical printer, and place a diffusion filter in front of its lens for that same footage. We increased the contrast by using a mix of interpositive and release stocks in the duplicate process."

Antonio Calvache

The resulting effect is a series of images that seem simultaneously brilliant and washed-out, like an overwhelming memory that is being painstakingly repressed.

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