AC Gallery: Children of Men

Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC and director Alfonso Cuarón examine an angle with an Arri director's finder fitted with a small video unit for recording and review.

Photographed almost entirely handheld by Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC with very little traditional film lighting, the sci-fi-flavored dystopian drama Children of Men (2006), directed by Alfonso Cuarón, has a visual aesthetic that borders on documentary. This selection of production stills — shot by unit photographer Jaap Buitendijk — reveals some of the effort that went into creating this naturalistic yet incredibly dynamic and cinematic style.

Cuarón plots a scene with co-stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Clive Owen.
For the film's impressive chase scene, the car's roof was "duplexed" so the dolly operator, focus puller and Lubezki could operate the camera from a ledge above the actors while the car was in motion, shooting in the car with a Sparrow Head mounted to a Two Axis Dolly.
Inside the vehicle — with the actors Pam Ferris, Owen and Julianne Moore — was an Arri 235 mounted to the SparrowHead/Two Axis Dolly rig.
Chivo balances the interior and exterior of the car.
Cuarón sets up a shot on Owen.
Owen, Lubezki and Cuarón.
Long light boxes were used to illuminate both sides of a bus on the greenscreen stage.
One of Lubezki’s favored techniques for night exteriors is to suspend a lightbox from a crane.
Lubezki makes some adjustments while working with a car rig.
Actors Clive Owen and Danny Huston (far right) and Ed Westwick (head of table) observe some guidance from Cuarón (standing and gesturing) while Lubezki (at camera) awaits his cue.
Operator George Richmond — with ear pro and eye pro — angles in on Owen while filming the battle sequence.
Operator George Richmond and focus puller Jonathan Richmond. (The sons of Anthony B. Richmond, ASC, BSC.)
Shooting the forest set built on Stage D at Pinewood Studios.
Overhead space lights illuminate the woodsy “exterior.”
Chivo checks his light.

Lubezki earned an ASC Award and an Oscar nomination for his work in the picture, among other honors.

You’ll find the complete story on the making of this film here, in the December 2006 issue of AC.


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