Thursday, April 15, 2021

Thursday Movie Picks: Female Cinematographers


For the 15th week of 2021 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go into the subject of female cinematographers based on a suggestion by Brittani as there’s been some incredible work by women behind the camera. Here are my three picks of female cinematographers working with female directors:

1. Babette Mangolte-Hotel Monterey
A frequent collaborator of Chantal Akerman, Babette Mangolte filmed much of Akerman’s work during the 1970s including this documentary film about Akerman’s time at a New York City hotel that has an array of people who live there that prove to be interesting. Shot in a grainy film stock, Mangolte brings that realism and a beauty to the look of the hotel room that Akerman lived in as well as other rooms while the location of the hotel itself is unique. Notably in a scene of what it’s like to be in an elevator at the hotel at the time while camera doesn’t move often during the film as it’s a testament to Mangolte’s work with Akerman.

2. Ellen Kuras-Personal Velocity: Three Portraits
A regular collaborator of Rebecca Miller, Ellen Kuras’ photography in Miller’s 2002 film that is based on Miller’s own novel is a definite look into the early ideas of digital video photography. There is a rawness to the way the camera looks including for some scenes set at night as well as how a daytime exterior looks. It’s a story of three different women living in the state of New York with one being a woman who was once a promiscuous woman who controlled her sexuality only to be married and be part of an abusive relationship with her husband. The second story set in New York City revolves a book editor who gets the chance to be successful and win her father’s approval but ponders if it brings her happiness. The third story is about a woman who befriends a young runaway just as she is dealing with changes in her own life as she’s trying to figure out her own life as Kuras’ photography just adds to the realism of these stories.

3. Barbara Alvarez-The Headless Woman
For Lucrecia Martel’s third film in this informal trilogy set in a regional area in Argentina that not many people outside of the area know about. The film revolves around the emotional breakdown of a woman following a hit-and-run as she is unsure of what she hit. Barbara Alvarez’s cinematography brings a lot of textures into the mind of Maria Onetto’s character who starts to unravel as her approach to natural lighting and colors says a lot about a woman that is falling apart. Even in the surrounds that adds to this social disconnect that Onetto’s character also starts to see in what she has but also the world where the accident happens as Alvarez’s work is a highlight of that film.

© thevoid99 2021


Ruth said...

I LOVE that you have another theme within a theme!! I should check out the other two DPs besides Ellen Kuras. I had not even heard of Babette Mangolte before so thanks for that, Hotel Monterey sounds intriguing.

Sonia Cerca said...

Great theme within a theme! I haven't seen any of your picks but I'm familiar with Kuras's work so I'm sure Personal Velocity: Three Portraits is visually stunning.

Brittani Burnham said...

I love your theme within a theme, but I haven't seen any of these. I need to get on that.

Katy said...

I haven't seen these yet, but I love the theme within a theme of female cinematographers with the female directors. The screencaps are marvelous.

Birgit said...

I don't know these films at all but the documentary sounds really interesting