[watch] The Surrealist: The Cinematography of Benoît Debie


[watch] The Surrealist: The Cinematography of Benoît Debie

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I’ve gone on before about just how invaluable I think Sareesh Sudhakaran’s “Understanding the Cinematography of” series for wolfcrow is. Each video he releases takes you far beneath the visual surface of our day’s most prominent directors of photography and into their individual styles, techniques, aesthetic origins and creative motivations. Sudhakaran doesn’t just look at the work of the cinematographers he studies, but also the cinematographers themselves, the people behind the art, and as a result he provides some of the most complete and definitive profiles I’ve ever come across.

Sudhakaran has hit the big names already – Robert Richardson, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Conrad Hall among them – and while each of those, as mentioned, has been an education in and of themselves, now that the big dogs have been thinned out of the pack it gives the wolfcrow spotlight a chance to shine on some lesser-known but equally-innovative shooters like the latest selection, Benoît Debie.

Debie came into his own as a cinematographer in the early part of this century. His first feature was revered director Gaspar Noe’s second, IRREVERSIBLE, and after that Debie was instantly at the forefront of artsy mainstream features. His work is lyrical – if such a term can be applied to visuals, which I think it can – and is best-suited helping to tell surreal, fever dreams of films, films where you can’t be certain if what you’re seeing is real or some manifest delusion or nightmare, films like Dario Argento’s THE CARD PLAYER, Fabrice du Welz’ CALVAIRE or VINYAN, Noe’s ENTER THE VOID, Harmony Korine’s SPRING BREAKERS, Ryan Gosling’s LOST RIVER, or Rhianna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” video.

Check out Sudhakaran’s analysis of Debie’s oeuvre, it’s insightful as ever and twice as entertaining because I’m willing to bet a lot of us don’t know too much about the man. Ooh, and for your viewing pleasure, after the wolfcrow video I’ve included the (NSFW) Rhianna one, too. You know, for artistic reasons.


H. Perry Horton

H Perry Horton is a screenwriter and novelist currently hiding out in the Washington State wilderness like a bespectacled sasquatch. If you've seen his movies, he's sorry; if you've read his novels, he's surprised. Tweets @hperryhorton

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