THE CAREER OF DARIUS KHONDJI – PIERRE ANGÉNIEUX TRIBUTE LAUREATE 2022
This year internationally renowned French-Iranian cinematographer Darius Khondji will receive the prestigious Pierre Angénieux Tribute.
Darius Khondji has shot in France several times, with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, among others. His career, however, has primarily been built internationally, along with leading figures such as David Fincher, Bernardo Bertolucci, Alan Parker, Neil Jordan, Roman Polanski, Danny Boyle, Woody Allen, Sydney Pollack, Michael Haneke, Wong Kar-wai, James Gray, Bong Joon-ho, Nicolas Winding Refn, Joshua and Ben Safdie or most recently with Alejandro González Iñarritu.
In a conversation with Philippe Parreno in 2017 for Cinémathèque Française, Khondji declared his affinity for optics, saying, “I am very attached to optics. It’s not always rational, more in the realm of inspiration, but it has had an enormous importance since the beginning of my work. I am attached to the shape of the camera, its proximity to the body, to the eye”
Darius Khondji has been interested in cinema since childhood, when around the age of twelve, he shot films in super 8. Born October 21, 1955 in Tehran, Iran, he was three years old when his family moved to France. In 1976, he chose to attend film school in the United States. In New York, he took courses at the International Center of Photography (ICP) while regularly visiting museums.
After spending two years in the USA, he returned to France and decided to pursue the profession of director of photography. He became the second assistant camera to Eduardo Serra, then assistant director. His meeting with Bruno Nuytten, cinematographer, was decisive.
After a stint as an assistant operator, he also began to produce images for advertisements and clips (Tandem by Vanessa Paradis, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino). His career as a cinematographer started in 1990 with Treasure of the Bitch Islands by François-Jacques Ossang. This was followed by Delicatessen (1993) and The City of Lost Children (1995) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro.
Khondji first worked abroad in 1995, with David Fincher on Se7en. For him it was the beginning of a long career in Hollywood, Europe, Asia and most recently in Mexico with Alejandro González Iñarritú. Khondji regularly collaborates with a series of directors: he worked on five films for Woody Allen, three for James Gray, two for David Fincher and soon Bong Joon-ho.
Very attached to traditional film, Darius Khondji nevertheless shot digitally with Michael Haneke (Amour, 2012) and Bong Joon-ho (Okja, 2017).
Alongside his film career, Darius Khondji has also been the cinematographer for some of the many music videos directed by Chris Cunningham, including Frozen for Madonna, Afrika Shox for Leftfield and Jay-Z’s Marcy Me music video directed by Joshua and Ben Safdie. He also renewed his partnership with French visual artist Philippe Parreno on various projects.
© Peter Lindbergh (picture)