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Adriano Goldman gains as d.p.

'Sin nombre' is train ride to lensing opportunities

As d.p. for “Sin nombre,” Adriano Goldman spent a week on top of real moving trains and replicas built for the film, 99% of which was shot using handheld cameras. Working closely with director Cary Fukunaga, a small army of extras and equipment on the high, narrow location, security concerns were paramount.

Fukunaga had a vision in mind based on an actual train station in Mexico City. Tonally the director was looking for a dark and dangerous setting, and for night sequences he wanted to capture the image of the security tower’s sole source of light. Goldman says the solution was to imitate the station by placing one elevated light source, enhancing it with smoke and adding fluorescent lights. Goldman and the director visited the station five times to understand the best way to shoot it. “Preparation is always the thing,” says Goldman.

Their meticulous strategy resulted in “Sin nombre” winning two awards at Sundance, for cinematography and directing. “This little movie is doing very important things for my career,” Goldman observes.

The 43-year-old Brazilian native first thought about being a cinematographer when he watch Jacques Cousteau documentaries. “Sin nombre” came about after he had worked as a d.p. in Brazil for 10 years.

The more recent “Betty Anne Waters,” directed by Tony Goldwyn, allowed Goldman the first opportunity to work with a star of Hilary Swank’s status. Goldman bonds with his actors through his camera (one reason he prefers handheld is that it helps him “breathe” with the actors). “There’s a close connection between the d.p. and actors, it’s something special.”

P.O.V.

Movie that changed my life: “Paris, Texas”

D.p. hero: Chris Menges

Film or digital: Film

Favorite tool: 65mm lens