Awards: Golden Frog at Camerimage, New York and Boston crix kudos for “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
Tools: “We used Moviecam compacts I owned, which were outfitted with Ultra Prime size lenses and variable primes … stocks 5246 and 5217 tungsten stock for daylight; 5218 for nighttime. We shot in format 1:85,” says Navarro.
Visual references: “There are many influences, but the important thing was that the film needed two different narratives, and visually we had to accommodate them, so we had a real reality based on how the fascist world is and a color palette that goes with the story. The fantasy scenes are colorful, but the military world is cold,” he explains.
Aesthetic: “I search for films that allow me to create a reality, not just everyday life that everybody knows. So I tried to create visual bridges to take us in and out of the narrative and connect the story’s two distinctly different worlds. I had to consider how the fantastic world affects reality, so visually it was about connecting the pieces. I’m a strong believer that the images are the language and grammar of storytelling, but they also have to serve the story,” Navarro says. “Fortunately, I had access to dailies, so I worked very closely with my collaborators, gaffer David Lee and key grip Rick Stribling. We’d do a photograph of each lighting setup and time it in the computer to come up with perfect picture of how the set had to look.”
Challenges: “The biggest challenge was basically getting the concept clear, and defining the world. (Director) Guillermo (del Toro) and I had to see it together and then execute it, and fortunately, we have a very strong relationship, so it worked out well. I also did things that I’d never done before, like doing day for night,” says Navarro.
What’s next: Besides “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Navarro’s work can be seen in “Night at the Museum,” and he will reteam with del Toro for “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army,” currently in pre-production.