Cannes winners speak with ARRI
Filmmakers at the 70th Cannes Film Festival, including several whose films picked up awards, were interviewed by ARRI on the beach.
At the pavilion of the Director's Fortnight, where ARRI hosts its annual cocktail event, they discussed their work on the films and explained how ARRI technology had helped them.
Cinematographer Fredrik Wenzel speaks with ARRI at the 70th Cannes Film Festival about shooting Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning feature film THE SQUARE with ALEXA XT and Master Prime lenses. BTS photo: Tobias Henriksson. Production stills: Platform Production AB
THE SQUARE (Palme d'Or)
The 2017 Palme d'Or -- Cannes' top prize -- went to Swedish director Ruben Östlund for his feature film THE SQUARE. Cinematographer Fredrik Wenzel captured with ALEXA XT and Master Prime lenses. "Ruben likes to find a frame first and then stays there because that is his sort of comfort thing...we find that shot and then we stick to it through the day," says Wenzel. "Then the improvisation with the actors and finding the situation happens within that frame; he is very strict on the camera staying -- I'm not allowed to touch it really!" At the same time, says Wenzel, "Ruben has a great sensibility for when the camera should move and when it shouldn't. I try to push that when I see where it could benefit the situation of what we're doing. We have a lot of whip pans in the movie, which are trying to implement some sort of weird, unsettling insecurity. When you have to operate and do precise movements you're very present and there; it takes a huge amount of energy to perform those over and over again, and be precise every time."
Cinematographer Mikhail Krichman RGC chose ALEXA cameras and SkyPanel lights on director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s intense and disturbing film LOVELESS, which was awarded the Jury Prize at Cannes. Production stills: Non Stop Production / Anna Matveeva.
LOVELESS (Jury Prize)
Cinematographer Mikhail Krichman RGC worked with ALEXA XT and ALEXA Mini cameras, as well as SkyPanel lights, on director Andrei Zvyagintsev's intense and disturbing film LOVELESS, which was awarded the Jury Prize at Cannes. "On Andrei's movies the camera doesn't move without any purpose," says Krichman. "It moves with action, with actors, or with a special purpose that belongs to the scene. Like in the very last shot, when the birds come from behind the camera and fly up, and the camera moves in and pans up to see the ribbon on the tree. That was moved by the birds, otherwise we wouldn't see it." The cinematographer continues, "We had eight SkyPanels -- they worked everyday, in the studio and for exteriors as well. A friend of mine made a wireless controller and put an antenna powered by USB in every SkyPanel, controlled through an iPad. We could put them anywhere and didn't need to take them down or up, you don't need any gels, and that actually made us flexible and let us experiment more with the color of the light...the light became a character, so I was really happy having these fixtures."
Director Chloe Zhao’s film THE RIDER won the top prize in the Director’s Fortnight selection at the 70th Cannes Film Festival; it was shot by British cinematographer Joshua James Richards with AMIRA and Ultra Primes. BTS photos: Nick Langley. Production stills: Caviar.
THE RIDER (Art Cinema Award, Director's Fortnight)
Director Chloe Zhao's film THE RIDER won the top prize in the Director's Fortnight selection at Cannes this year. The movie -- a semi-fictional, semi-documentary study of a South Dakota rodeo rider -- was shot by British cinematographer Joshua James Richards, who captured with AMIRA and Ultra Primes. "We knew we'd be shooting natural light, it's just the nature of the environment and working with non-actors, but we had a very clear strategy about how we were going to shoot at specific times of day and if the light wasn't right we'd move on to something else." says Richards. "I've always really liked how the AMIRA feels on the shoulder -- it's a well-balanced camera. I've become well adjusted to the ease and ergonomics of it, and that coupled with the Ultra Primes gave us the latitude we needed in a broad range of situations, from firelight scenes to very bright days at a rodeo." He continues, "There was one particular night, it was a harvest moon...it was so bright, I had never seen that before, so out of curiosity we got the AMIRA out and framed up, and you actually see in the film a scene lit purely by moonlight. If that's not a great testament to the sensor, I don't know what is."
Legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman ASC chose to work mainly on 35 mm film for LOVELESS, his latest collaboration with director Todd Haynes. ARRICAMs captured 90% of the action, though an ALEXA Mini was used for challenging scenes in a museum. Production stills: Cinetic Media.
Continuing their long-running creative partnership, director Todd Haynes and cinematographer Ed Lachman ASC teamed up for WONDERSTRUCK, which was selected for the main competition in Cannes. Lachman comments, "One of the conceits or ideas Todd had was, because it deals with a deaf girl in the 1920s, we referenced the silent era of movie making, which was in black-and-white. So what better way to do that than actually shoot on film with black-and-white negative? And then there's a parallel story that takes place in the 1970s, also with someone who becomes deaf, so a lot of the film was through the visualization of the world, the subjectivity of the world through the characters we portray." Lachman shot primarily in color and black-and-white 35 mm with ARRICAM cameras, though about 10% was captured with his own ALEXA Mini, for scenes in a museum where time and lighting were limited. He also worked with ARRI SkyPanels, which he says allowed him to have "a third of the lights, and the colors were unbelievable, to play with without gels, so I'm a big fan of the SkyPanels -- they're a brilliant light."
Bulgarian director Stephan Komandarev worked with cinematographer Vesselin Hristov on his film DIRECTIONS, which follows multiple taxi drivers navigating the streets of Sofia on the same evening. The film was shot in long, continuous takes with an ALEXA Mini. BTS photos: Argo Film. Production stills: Argo Film.
Screened in the Un Certain Regard category and picked up for distribution by the world sales arm of ARRI Media, DIRECTIONS is a gritty and technically bold examination of life on the streets of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. Directed by Stephan Komandarev, it was shot by cinematographer Vesselin Hristov in long, single takes with an ALEXA Mini. Komandarev notes, "We wanted our film to have a lot of realism and authenticity, that's why we chose this crazy way of shooting, with every episode filmed in one shot. After a very long process of rehearsal we started the real shooting, and that's also why we chose the ALEXA Mini because you can imagine in a taxi cab with the actors there is no so much room and no possibility to put in a lot of lighting, so with this camera it was possible to be very moveable, very dynamic, and to shoot with a very low level of lighting and equipment." He adds, "10 years ago it would not have been possible to make a 19 minute shot with a 35 mm camera in a taxi, with low lighting. This technology gives much more freedom to the director and more options for the actors to play in a most realistic and natural way."
At the Cannes International Film Festival ARRI holds two events to intensify relationships with filmmakers.