September 1, 2021

Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino and DP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom discuss the Netflix film, Beckett and their close collaboration

Director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino and cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom have worked together on Call Me By Your Name and Suspira. Ferdinando served as the second unit director on both films. Beckett is the second feature Ferdinando has written and directed. Sayombhu also shot Ferdinando’s first feature, Antonia, and was Oscar-nominated for his cinematography on Call Me By Your Name. Prior to his experience working with Ferdinando and director Luca Guadagnino, Sayombhu built his cinematography career in Thailand, shooting films such as the Cannes festival winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Beckett is a thriller, reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock films, starring John David Washington as an American vacationing in Greece with his girlfriend, played by Alicia Vikander. After a tragic accident, Beckett is pursued by the police and drawn into a political conspiracy while being chased across the country. Ferdinando intended to have the film nod at Hitchcock, but he wanted to stay away from the heightened, perfectly choreographed elements of Hitchcock movies such as North By Northwest, where every scene is a spectacle, with amazing set pieces following one after the other. For Beckett, Ferdinando liked the idea of shooting everything with very natural light, keeping the movie grounded and not quite so heightened. As a hero, Beckett is relatable and believable- when he fights or runs, he sweats, gets out of breath and becomes seriously injured, and all of the action sequences are grounded in reality.

Sayombhu enjoys shooting films using natural light, preferring to reshape or bounce sunlight. If he has to use lights, he uses as few as possible, and in a way that’s almost invisible. He also prefers to light the environment rather than the actor, to give them space to move around, so that they can live in the moment and he can capture it as it happens. When Sayombhu scouts locations, he uses his eyes and his gut feeling to explore the place and memorizes the kind of natural light available, noticing potential issues before figuring out how to overcome them.

To have a good rapport with a director, Sayombhu suggests listening to the director first, and only then make a suggestion that would make it better. Ferdinando enjoys collaborating with Sayombhu because they both understand the importance of preparation during pre-production and research, and they have similar taste in filmmaking and visual language.

You can watch Beckett on Netflix.

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep138/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com
Sponsored by Aputure: https://www.aputure.com/

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

March 10, 2021

Benjamin Kracun, cinematographer of Promising Young Woman, on shooting the dark comedy and working with director/writer Emerald Fennell

The film Promising Young Woman is many things: a dark comedy-noir-thriller-revenge fantasy, and even part romantic comedy. The film centers on Cassie, a smart and complicated character seeking revenge on men who prey on drunk women. Cinematographer Benjamin Kračun first met director and writer Emerald Fennell while working on a short video project together. Fennell mentioned she was working on a feature project, and she eventually contacted Ben to let him know she had funding and was ready to shoot. Fennell had seen one of Ben’s previous films, Beast, which she felt had a similar sensibility.

Once Fennell sent the script, Ben read it and found himself completely hooked. He found it very exciting because it was so unlike any Hollywood script he’d seen- a taut thriller, but a fun and enjoyable popcorn movie with elements of romantic comedy. He could see that the film would spark a cultural discussion afterward.

For their first meeting, Ben put together images and ideas of what he thought the movie would look like- very dark, dramatic looks from films such as Gone Girl and Magnolia. Fennell came with a look book for a film full of pastel colors and the main character, Cassie, would dress in bright, happy colors. Ben was surprised at first, but Emerald had a very specific point of view for what she wanted. It was very clear from the beginning that it was Emerald’s vision and her voice, even though it was her first feature film. Ben likes having specificity at all times from the director, and you can see when a movie has carefully thought through everything. Cassie is in disguise, working at a bright coffee shop by day, and playing different drunk girl roles at night, planning for something bigger. Using the pastel palette in the film takes Promising Young Woman a step away from reality, and hides the darkest undertones of what is really going on, and the audience doesn’t see what’s coming.

You can pay to see Promising Young Woman streaming on VOD services.

Find Benjamin Kračun: https://benjaminkracun.com/
Instagram: @benkracun

Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep116/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

Website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz