‘Bardo’ Brothers: Alejandro González Iñárritu & Darius Khondji On Finding Kinship, Harnessing Light & Why Simple Scenes Are Sometimes Hardest To Stage

It seems somehow surprising that Oscar-winning filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu and acclaimed veteran cinematographer Darius Khondji never worked together before collaborating BardoA False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, But what will they become when they finally come together Mexico’s entry for the Best International Feature OscarThere was an instant meeting of minds and a true sense of kinship, each telling me that they felt as though they had discovered a brother they had never met.

Khondji, who recently won the Silver Frog at CameraImage netflix‘s Bardoreported that Iñárritu called her “completely out of the blue from the other side of the world and told me about this movie he was making. From the first call we had, it put me in a certain kind of mood.” Gave it. … The way he was talking about it, there was something very familiar, like some young uncle or young brother in my family was calling me. He started to open a door that let me into this other world. Entered.

And this was all before Khondji had read a single word of the story. When he finally got it, he said he felt: “I haven’t read scripts like this – like Apocalypse Now – where you go on a trip. This movie was a journey, and of course I took the first plane to Mexico to join Alejandro.

For Iñárritu, Khondji “has always been one of my favorite DPs in the world because I think he’s an incredible painter in all the films he does. He’s not only a very eclectic photographer, but I think As an artist, he is someone who really understands what a film needs and infuses his art with that spirit.

Khondji has worked with filmmakers such as David Fincher, James Grey, Woody Allen, Danny Boyle, Michael Haneke, and Bong Joon-ho. Iñárritu said, “The incredible amount of great directors he’s worked with speaks for itself.”

Bardo Documenting one man’s cultural rediscovery when he leaves Los Angeles and returns to Mexico. After receiving a prestigious award for his work in journalism and documentary filmmaking, Silverio (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is forced to re-examine his roots. Upon arrival, he struggles with embarrassing memories of the past and an existential crisis.

There is a surreal, dream-like quality to the film that Iñárritu has said are “incomprehensible things”. The director wanted Khondji to “understand that this film is made of dreams and emotions and feelings and fears and all those things that have no logic, no structure and rational things that you can handle.”

Twenty minutes into their opening conversation, Iñárritu said, “We were talking about lenses and about light and about painters and about photographers who inspire us. I thought we were already making a film.

A challenge for Iñárritu was that “the things I wanted to express were very delicate, vulnerable, personal and scary things, very intimate things. And at the same time, there was something else kind of grand and epic because all of those Things have shaped me psychologically, emotionally. Everything from a very radical perspective from a guy who is putting his life together.

In what he describes as a “dream language”, Iñárritu wanted to combine, “the intimate and the epic, the nostalgic with the humour, the sublime and the silly and the ridiculous, the minimalistic moment of a little kiss turning into an epic triumphant moment that the country represents an open wound.

It is a fairly long sequence, and Khondji agreed that there were “challenging sequences from the very beginning”, involving transitions to dream sequences as well as large set pieces such as a massive set in a dance club.

Still, for Khondji, it was “incredibly exciting to do” such a “great musical party that was written by a great composer, and we were helping to play the part.”

Iñárritu said, “With Darius, when he arrived I had already localized most of the places, together we saw him. We had an in depth discussion about drawing and set design and started rehearsing with camera movement with incredible precision and how with all these lenses we could get all the context inside but also dreamlike camera movement With, we can get the most intimate close-up without a sense of some objective through the character, but more objective. “To get that fluidity, you have to have extreme precision,” he said.

Iñárritu also said, “The quality of the light was absolutely intrinsic to the success of the film. Every single scene has a light quality that’s kind of diaphanous, loose, slightly blown out.”

And yet, the most apparently simple scene turned out to be one of the most challenging. This is when Silverio returns to his apartment after an extraordinary experience on the set of a TV talk show “and just stares in the window with that exact light – which took us days and days to fix,” Iñárritu said.

He explained, “We put that apartment up with that light and then the camera pans to the right, he sits down, the camera starts panning into his face, we get super close and he’s talking without moving his lips.” then we pass that and then [his wife] returns, and with an extreme close-up in the eyes, and so on [Khondji] Broke the axle and it had to go under the camera and we have a 65mm in the middle of this little room with a huge crane.

Khondji echoed: “It’s true, it’s a sequence where you’re not cut. It was very complex, very precise choreography, the way the characters are moving, being able to deliver the story, but you Alejandro Like don’t do a film like this without a director, it’s impossible. … He sets everything in motion, he creates this world. A cameraman depends on the director.

Iñárritu returned the compliment. What Darius did is really incredible,” he said. “When you have a 70mm with 365-degree movements—where to hide the lights, how do you have to do the lighting movements with the panel so that the shadows never appear? Can get the right not to do the project. You don’t see any light sources, everything looks real.”

He laughed, “It was really very technical nonsense that I think only Darius would know.”

what they learned from each other during the making experience Bardo, Iñárritu said, “Despite the challenging moments the attitude of observation and energy and calmness of Darius in the set – that time goes on and situations become really complicated and exhausting and frustrating – not only a beautiful collaborator to watch open Darius’ ability to maintain emotion is really the technicalities of every aspect of what’s right for every shot, but also the way he listens to people and communicates his ideas despite how difficult moments can be. I think I’ve really learned from him how his spirit matches his talent in a way.

Khondji summarized, “I’ve learned that I only want to do one more film with Alejandro.”