Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' The 10 Best Films Of 2004 The 10 Best Films Of 2004 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2003 First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

On The Rise '12: 5 Cinematographers Lighting Up Screens In Recent Years

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 26, 2012 at 1:10PM

Following our looks at actors, actresses, screenwriters and directors to watch in recent months, when the time came to put together a list of cinematographers (as we did two years ago), we went in with an open mind. But what was interesting is realizing, after the fact, that in an era where 35mm film is allegedly being phased out, that all five have done perhaps their most distinctive work on old-fashioned celluloid, rather than digital.
22
Take This Waltz

Luc Montpellier
Unlike most of the names on this list, Luc Montpellier has award nominations galore, and acclaimed screen credits going back a decade, so he's not quite a newcomer. But perhaps because he's rarely, if ever, worked outside his native Canada, he's yet to be  a familiar name among cinephiles around the world, something that will hopefully change thanks to his superb work on Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz."

Hailing from Sudbury, Ontario, Montpellier picked up his first cinematography credit on Toronto director Daniel Wilson's 1994 film, titled, uh, "1994," with a number of credits on shorts, TV and features following. Perhaps the most important came in 2001, with "I Shout Love," the short film that marked the directorial debut of Polley (then only 22), who credited her collaboration with Montepellier as helping her to come to grips with the visual side of filmmaking: "I was not that confident visually at the time, and Luc gave me a lot of confidence, and he was constantly kind of bringing out in me what I saw visually and translating it into real practical terms.”

2003 proved to be something of a banner year for the cinematographer. He won a Gemini award (the Canadian version of the Emmys) for his work on TV movie "Hemingway Vs. Callaghan," and won international acclaim for Guy Maddin's astonishing-looking "The Saddest Music In The World," which, as the LA Times put it, "doesn't just re-create 1933 through costumes; it actually looks like a 1933 picture." And indeed it is, truly distinctive, stunning work which rightly should have launched him into the stratosphere.

It didn't quite, although he's rarely out of work, and when Polley came to make her feature debut with "Away From Her," Montpellier was her only choice, and his haunting wintry images are almost as crucial to the film as Julie Christie's astonishing performance. Further features followed, including Jamie Thraves' underseen "Cry Of The Owl," and Ruba Nadda's "Cairo Time," which landed the director a spot on Kris Tapley's competitive best shots of the year list in 2010, and rightly so -- it was more great work from the DoP. He's also stacked up the TV credits, including the pilot to the successful show "Flashpoint."

But it's "Take This Waltz" that really shows what Montpellier's capable of. Polley's tale of infidelity over a sizzling Toronto summer has its flaws, but the photography is not one of them; sun-kissed, intimate and somehow evocative of the feeling of being head over heels in love, especially in the spectacular, scored-to-The-Buggles fairground scene, one our favorite things on screen so far in 2012. If there's any justice in the world, it'll see Montpellier mentioned throughout the year when people talk about the best cinematography.

The DoP explained his work to the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. Polley told him that she wanted a "hot, colourful, welcoming, beautiful rendering of Toronto and the people within it. She wanted this sexy passion to take over, that every frame felt like it was dripping wet with sweat,” and that the film was "like a bowl of fruit... The most successful cinematography, no matter how bold it is, becomes seamless. [You commit] implicitly to the world that you’re creating. You don’t start the film with these beautiful saturated colours and bowls of fruit and then divert from it. From frame one to the very last frame of the film, there’s a commitment to the world that we’ve created.”

Hopefully they've got more collaborations in the pipeline, but until then, Montpellier certainly isn't being idle -- he shot a feature entitled "Happy Slapping" entirely on an iPhone 4, and has reunited with Sadda on "Inescapable," starring Marisa Tomei, Joshua Jackson and Alexander Siddig, which should start doing the festival rounds later in the year.  

This article is related to: Features, Shut Up And Play The Hits, Miss Bala, Attack The Block, The Master, Take This Waltz, On The Rise Features


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates