Charlotte Bruus Christensen, center, on the set of Far from the Madding Crowd, 2013.
In my recent profile of upcoming films directed by women, I mentioned a couple that had been photographed by female cinematographers, An Open Secret (photographed by Jenna Rosher) and Unexpected (photographed by Dagmar Weaver-Madsen). With that in mind I would like to draw your attention to eight other movies, in theaters either now or later this year, all of which were shot by female directors of photography. I am including the trailers for An Open Secret and Unexpected as well so that you can see what those films look like too. I’m always excited to see what women do in different roles behind the camera and it’s great to know that female cinematographers can get jobs on both big-budget and indie films that get some level of mainstream distribution. Treatment of women in this industry can be awful (as the postings on the popular Tumblr page Shit People Say to Women Directors (& Other Women in Film) indicate) so we should celebrate accomplishments when we see them. Every little bit of visibility helps.
(P.S. In that recent post on new films by women directors I overlooked one: I Believe in Unicorns, the feature film debut of Leah Meyerhoff. The film is opening in NYC on May 29.)
Far from the Madding Crowd (dir. Thomas Vinterberg) – DP: Charlotte Bruus Christensen (in theaters now). When I saw this romantic drama’s trailer at BAM last weekend, I thought the images looked quite beautiful. The film has gotten mixed reviews but I would still give it a try based on my reaction to the cinematography. It probably doesn’t hurt that I’m a fan of Thomas Hardy and I also consider Carey Mulligan a very good actress.
Saint Laurent (dir. Bertrand Bonello) – DP: Josée Deshaies (in theaters now). I already liked many of the still shots that I had seen from this biopic of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, so the trailer confirms my interest in the project. Director Bonello and cinematographer Deshaies are romantic partners and they have been working together on films since Bonello’s first short, Qui je suis, in 1996.
An Open Secret (dir. Amy Berg) – DP: Jenna Rosher (in theaters June 5). As shocking as this film will be for some viewers, it sheds light on the too-long-hidden truths of sexual abuse against minors in the film industry.
Mega Shark vs. Kolossus (dir. Christopher Ray) – DP: Laura Beth Love (in theaters June 7?). It’s not clear to me whether this film is actually going to be in theaters or if it’s headed straight for the SyFy channel. All I can say is: I hope Illeana Douglas was paid well.
Dope (dir. Rick Famuyiwa) – DP: Rachel Morrison (in theaters June 19). Like Far from the Madding Crowd, I also saw the trailer for Dope at BAM last weekend. Despite the stylized quirkiness of the main character and his friends, Dope could be a fun film. The sunny, golden images of Los Angeles would certainly be worth seeing.
A Little Chaos (dir. Alan Rickman) – DP: Ellen Kuras (in theaters June 26). Period pieces are always fun and this film about the creation of the garden at Versailles looks to be no exception. Flowers! Rain! The costumes by Joan Bergin! Based on this trailer, I’d say that cinematographer Ellen Kuras did a pretty good job.
Unexpected (dir. Kris Swanberg) – DP: Dagmar Weaver-Madsen (in theaters July 24). In Swanberg’s debut film, which received many good reviews after it showed at Sundance, cinematographer Weaver-Madsen appears to have made abundant use of natural light.
Sinister 2 (dir. Ciarán Foy) – DP: Amy Vincent (in theaters August 21). I’m not generally interested in modern-day horror films – they have to be as great as The Babadook in order to get my attention – but I’m glad to see that women cinematographers have not been excluded from the genre of gore.
The Visit (dir. M. Night Shyamalan) – DP: Maryse Alberti (in theaters September 11). Alberti probably has the highest profile of any woman cinematographer this year since two other films she has shot have US release dates: Freeheld (October 2), a drama starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carell and Michael Shannon, and Creed (November 25), young director Ryan Coogler’s second film after his debut drama from 2013, Fruitvale Station. Creed is a part of the Rocky universe; Sylvester Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa, now a trainer/mentor to the grandson of former opponent Apollo Creed, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan). The Visit is likely to be seen by a decent-sized audience since M. Night Shyamalan is one of the best-known horror/thriller/sci-fi directors of recent times (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, etc.)
Jem and the Holograms (dir. Jon M. Chu) – DP: Alice Brooks (in theaters October 23). OK, so a lot of people have complained about how terrible this film looks. It appears to be a remake in name only, nothing at all like the 1980s TV show upon which it is based. Well, at the very least it looks like it has some good cinematography, particularly the lighting in concert scenes.