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Darius Khondji

Darius Khondji

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Tehran, IR Profession: director of photography

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Darius Khondji found his name on the lists of top cinematographers in the world after his startling work on David Fincher's "Seven" (1995), in which the light almost became more frightening than the dark and contrasts were oblique. His range was well-established with "Stealing Beauty" (1996), for director Bernardo Bertolucci, in which the colors had great passion, yet the photography never subsumed the story of a young woman (Liv Tyler) finding romance. Khondji is becoming a director's favorite because he does not allow the visuals to overwhelm the story, rather they get under the skin and into the hearts and minds of the audience to enhance and trigger the emotions. If cinematography can marry story archetypes, Khondji has found a way. His inky shadows touch on emotions, but don't submerge into an atmospheric bog. This was particularly true on "Evita" (1996), in which the lighting was a baroque opera in and of itself, setting Eva Peron as goddess in one sequence, exposing the darkness of her life in another. Rarely had there been such a varied palette within one movie and Khondji's efforts were rewarded with an Oscar nomination.Born in Tehran to a Persian father and an French mother, Khondji was...

Darius Khondji found his name on the lists of top cinematographers in the world after his startling work on David Fincher's "Seven" (1995), in which the light almost became more frightening than the dark and contrasts were oblique. His range was well-established with "Stealing Beauty" (1996), for director Bernardo Bertolucci, in which the colors had great passion, yet the photography never subsumed the story of a young woman (Liv Tyler) finding romance. Khondji is becoming a director's favorite because he does not allow the visuals to overwhelm the story, rather they get under the skin and into the hearts and minds of the audience to enhance and trigger the emotions. If cinematography can marry story archetypes, Khondji has found a way. His inky shadows touch on emotions, but don't submerge into an atmospheric bog. This was particularly true on "Evita" (1996), in which the lighting was a baroque opera in and of itself, setting Eva Peron as goddess in one sequence, exposing the darkness of her life in another. Rarely had there been such a varied palette within one movie and Khondji's efforts were rewarded with an Oscar nomination.

Born in Tehran to a Persian father and an French mother, Khondji was raised in Paris and studied film at New York University. Returning to France, he was hired by cinematographer Bruno Nuytten as an assistant cameraman, and by 1987 had worked his way up to chief operator. In 1988, he made his feature debut as director of photography on "Embrasse-moi" for director Michele Rosier. His work first came to international attention with "Delicatessen" (1991), directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, for whom he also shot "The City of Lost Children" (1995). The latter was about a mad scientist trying to steal the dreams of children, and the film had the feel of the neverworld, the state of semi-consciousness between being awake and being asleep, where light pierces to keep the soul within the body and darkness to let it breathe on its own.

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CAST: (feature film)

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:
Raised in Paris, France
:
Studied filmmaking at NYU
:
Hired as assistant director of photography by Bruno Nuytten
1988:
First credit as director of photography, "Embrasse-moi", directed by Michele Rosier
1991:
First collaboration with directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, "Delicatessen"
1995:
Breakthrough feature, "Seven", directed by David Fincher
1995:
Reteamed with Jeunet and Caro on "The City of Lost Children"
1996:
Worked with Bernardo Bertolucci on "Stealing Beauty"
1996:
Served as director of photography for Alan Parker on "Evita"; earned a Best Cinematography Oscar nomination
1997:
Reteamed with Jeunet on "Alien Resurrection"
2000:
Shot "The Beach"
2000:
Collaborated with Roman Polanski on "The Ninth Gate"
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Education

New York University: New York , New York -

Notes

Darius Khondji on "Evita" to The Hollywood Reporter, May 14, 1996: "I've never been asked to do such completely different work from one scene to the next."

"On most of my films I 'flash' the negative. This involved putting a special box in front of the lens that illuminates it with certain color tones according to the atmosphere I want." --Darius Khondji in Sight and Sound, April 1996.

"In the prehistory of a picture, in that crucial formative period before shooting begins, it is essential for a director of photography to create a total, complete, photographic blackness in his mind. The first thought, the first flutter of reaction to the story establishes itself irretrievably as the aesthetic basis for (that particular) film." --Darius Khondji to Daily Variety, February 23, 1996.

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