Cinematographers at Cannes 2016

thefilmbook by Benjamin B

The 2016 Cannes International Film Festival has just begun. Although there are a lot of news stories about the films, directors and actors at Cannes, much less is said about the cinematographers.

This post lists some of the films that will be screened in the next 11 days, and identifies some of cinematographers involved. There are, of course, many, many more...

cinematography by the great Raoul Coutard.
The poster for the 2016 Cannes International Film Festival harkens back to Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film Contempt, with cinematography by the great Raoul Coutard.

1. Official Competition

2. Director/Cinematographer Partnerships

3. Un Certain Regard

4. Out of Competition, a Selection

5. Meeting with Peter Suschitzky, ASC


1. Official Competition

The two "official" selections, the Competition and UCR, are chosen by the genial festival director, Thierry Frémeaux, and his staff. The Official Competition is the main event: 21 films will compete this year for the Palme d'Or and other prizes awarded by a jury headed by director George Miller.

Click image for larger size
Click image for larger version

Co-productions sometimes make it difficult to define a film's nationality. This year the festival organizers have listed the directors' country of origin. By this directorial standard there are 4 French films, 3 from the US, 2 from Romania, 2 from UK, 1 each from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Iran, the Philippines, South Korea and Spain. There are three women directors: Maren Ade, Andrea Arnold and Nicole Garcia.

The Official Competition includes one ASC member, Fred Elmes, who shot Jim Jarmusch's film, Paterson. Distinguished BSC member Barry Ackroyd shot Sean Penn's film, The Last Face. There are only two women DPs: Claire Mathon, AFC, and Natasha Braier, ADF.

Robbie Ryan, BSC, has the rare privilege of having shot 2 films in the Official Competition in the same year: American Honey with Andrea Arnold and I, Daniel Blake -- perhaps Ken Loach's "last" film. Stéphane Fontaine, AFC, also shot 2 films: Paul Verhoeven's Elle in the Official Competition, and Captain Fantastic in the Official UCR sidebar.


2. Director/Cinematographer Partnerships

I was struck by some of the director-cinematographer partners in the Official Competition, who have chosen to continue to work together:

-- Chung-hoon Chung & director Chan-wook Park, with a history of 6 strong, stylish films together.

-- Fred Elmes & director Jim Jarmusch, after 3 striking, off-beat films.

-- Alain Marcoen and the Dardenne brothers, after 7 films with a sober, powerful realism.

-- Claire Mathon & director Alain Guiraudie, after Stranger by the Lake, shot entirely in natural light.

-- Robbie Ryan & director Andrea Arnold, after 3 provocative, evocative films.

-- Robbie Ryan & director Ken Loach, after 2 understated films about the poor and powerless.

-- Adam Stone & director Jeff Nichols, after 4 very different, but very visual films, including Midnight Special.

-- André Turpin & director Xavier Dolan, after 2 films including the innovative, moving Mommy, in Competition two years ago.

I believe that directors and cinematographers who work together over many films are able to go deeper, and refine their filmmaking in ways that are more difficult to achieve in one-time partnerships.


3. Un Certain Regard

Un Certain Regard (aka "UCR") means "A Certain Gaze". UCR is the official sidebar for upcoming directors, and is often a stepping stone to future Official Competitions. UCR features another 18 films.

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Click image for bigger size

Using the director's national origin, UCR includes 3 films from the US, 2 from France, 2 from Israel, 2 from Japan, 1 each from Argentina, Egypt, Finland, Holland, Iran, Italy Israel, Romania, Russia, and Singapore.

I am struck by the number of UCR films by first-time directors: 6 out of 18.


4. Out of Competition, a Selection

One of my main motivations for going to Cannes is to discover new filmmakers from around the world. And I hope to return with a new list of directors and cinematographers to share. In the meantime, below is a rough list featuring some directors and/or cinematographers I already know and respect, who are offering their latest work in Cannes outside the Official Competition. The list could have been much longer, but, for space reasons, I have limited myself to 15 films:

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Click image for bigger size

There are 7 ASC members in the list: James Chressantis, Robert Gantz, Willy Kurant, Matthew Libatique, Janusz Kaminski, Philippe Rousselot, and Vittorio Storaro, who shot the festival's opening film: Café Society by Woody Allen.

It's heartening to see that cinematographers are starting to appear alongside the director, actors and producers at Cannes press conferences, like the one pictured above with Vittorio Storaro. Asked about using a digital camera for the first time, Woody Allen answered that: "To me, it's exactly the same" as 35mm film. Vittorio agreed, and said that many contemporary films "look the same", which he attributed partly to shooting in available light because of digital's sensitivity. "We have to use the language of images", he added, urging filmmakers to design and choose lighting specific to the story.


5. Meeting with Peter Suschitzky, ASC

The Angenieux ExcelLens Award is a recent prize awarded during the festival to leading cinematographers. Previous recipients are ASC masters Philippe Rousselot, Vilmos Zsigmond and Roger Deakins. This year's award will go another great cinematographer, Peter Suschitzky, ASC.

  • Some films by Peter Suschitzky


As part of their tribute, Angénieux has asked me to moderate a public meeting with Peter. As evoked by the images above, I have had a wonderful time preparing for this, looking at many scenes from Peter's films and discussing them with him. On the last weekend, we will show and discuss excerpts from Peter's impressive body of work, with questions and comments from the audience. The event is free and open to festival-goers, but seating is limited, so if you want to come, please send an email reservation. Here are the details for the event:

Meeting with Peter Suschitzky

moderated by Benjamin B

Saturday May 21st at 11AM

Salon Marius, Hotel Radisson Blu

Sponsored by Angénieux

-- seating is limited, email reservation request to:

[email protected]

See you there. :)



Festival de Cannes

Official Selection

Un Certain Regard (official sidebar)

Director's Fortnight - La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs

International Critics Week - La Semaine de la Critique


Camera d'Or list - 26 directors with their first feature film at Cannes 2015

AFC website with coverage of Cannes in French and English Tribute to Peter Suschitzky, ASC


I have done my best to thoroughly research theses lists, but please don't hesitate to give me any corrections you may have in the comments below.

Also, feel free to suggest other films and cinematographers worth noting!



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