I was fortunate to be able to interview Philippe Grandrieux, one of my favorite living filmmakers, when he recently came to the University of Chicago’s Film Studies Center to present three of his recent works. A transcript of the interview has been published in the Canadian film-studies journal Offscreen. I’m publishing a brief excerpt below and linking to the full piece at the bottom of this post. Thanks to Dominique Bluher and Michael W. Phillips, Jr. for helping to facilitate our talk and to Corinne Thevenon-Grandrieux for taking the delightful photo below.
MGS: Malgré la nuit is the first feature you’ve shot digitally. How did you like that experience compared to shooting on 35mm?
Photo by Corinne Thevenon-Grandrieux
PG: Well, you know, it makes not such a big difference for me, 35 or digital. Of course, there’s a difference — the nature of the picture — but I’m not at all in any kind of nostalgia (for celluloid). Because you are not paying with cash, you use a credit card; it’s plastic but it’s more or less the same, you know? So, it’s no more paper but it’s computers. Maybe digital cameras give you the opportunity also to be more inside of the light of the picture. When you shoot in 35 you are not in the light of the scene because all the contrast and the color, all of this is done later in the laboratory. But when you shoot in digital, in the viewfinder you have exactly the light that you are going to have on the screen. What you are seeing is what you are screening. For me it’s very important, the possibilities the digital camera gives me – to be more inside of the light of the film. Because I frame myself, and I am really inside of the movie when I shoot. It’s a very particular way to shoot and to direct. So I need to be inside of the sensation when it happens. And digital cameras give me very strong access to this sensation.
Read the full interview at Offscreen.