×

Benoit Debie: Rock sensibility on ‘Runaways’

10 Cinematographers to Watch

There’s such a thing as being too clean and too sharp, and on “The Runaways,” Benoit Debie wanted to get down and dirty — maybe not as down and dirty as he’s gotten with Gaspar Noe (on “Irreversible” and “Enter the Void”), but somewhere close to the esthetic of ’80s L.A. punk rock.

“It’s a period movie,” he says, “and I wanted something more genuine. So we did some tests to compare HD and Super 16. We shot many concerts,” he saysd of the film, which chronicles the rise of the eponymous all-girl rock group and stars Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, “and I think the HD was not the best for this type of movie in terms of quality, and sensibility too.” The result was a rock film with a rock feel — a picture whose often grimy texture screamed bass, drums and nihilism.

Debie, who has worked multiple times with certain directors, such as Noe, Shekhar Kapur (the short “Passages” and the in-production “Paani”) and his Belgian compatriot Fabrice Du Welz (“Vinyan,” “The Ordeal,” “For Your Entertainment”) has also worked with several first-timers: He shot Julia Loktev’s memorable suicide-bomber drama “Day Night Day Night” in 2006; and has just completed, with helmer Adrian Grunberg, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” (which stars Mel Gibson). But that fits, because he approaches each film as a unique undertaking.

“Each movie is another story,” he says. ” ‘Enter the Void’ is a good example because when we went to Japan, the idea was to do like ‘Irreversible,’ with nothing in terms of lighting, a few bulbs maybe. But I came to understand it was impossible to do the movie with nothing.” So they experimented, shopped for lights, came up with equipment and an approach that was very specific to the film. “I try to find a way to help the script and the story,” Debie says, “and the director. But I like to experiment, and not do the same thing on each one.”

VITAL STATS:
Role models: Is inspired less by individuals than the physical world around him.
Camera & film used: ARRI 416 super-16 camera, Zeiss Masterpoint lenses; Vision 3 Kodak film stock
Fave tool: “I don’t need to have so much equipment. It’s more about the concept, or the project, and each movie is completely different.”

10 Cinematographers to Watch:
Adam Arkapaw | David Boyd | Benoit Debie | Zoltan Honti | Yorick Le Saux | Jody Lee Lipes | Michael McDonough | Reed Morano | Kramer Morgenthau | Andrew Reed

More Film

  • 'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office

    'The Lion King' Ruling Box Office With Dazzling Debut at $180 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” has jolted the North American box office back to life with an opening weekend in the $180 million range, estimates showed Saturday. “The Lion King” will record the second-best opening of 2019 — and could replace “Incredibles 2,” which launched last year with $182.7 million, as the ninth biggest North American [...]

  • 'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in

    'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in Hospital After Stabbing

    Hugely popular Hong Kong actor, Simon Yam was stabbed while on stage Saturday at a presentation in Zhongshan, Guangdong province in southern China. He is in hospital recovering. The incident happened at the opening of a branch of the Beijing Easyhome building materials company, where Yam was a guest. A man was seen rushing on [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • TSOM-MASK

    Director Sara Gouveia on ‘Looking At Resilience Through Art’

    DURBAN–The Mapiko dance of Mozambique’s indigenous Makonde people was long used as a tool for social commentary. But during the colonial era it became an act of political resistance, prompting the Portuguese to stamp it out during Mozambique’s 10-year war for independence. Decades later, the art has been revived as a celebration of freedom. For [...]

  • Don Edkins

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

  • A Faithful Man

    Film Review: 'A Faithful Man'

    French actor Louis Garrel has been married twice, first to Iranian talent Golshifteh Farahani, and now to model-cum-actress Laetitia Casta. He has also directed two features, the first a free-wheeling love-triangle comedy called “Two Friends” in which Garrel plays the cad who comes between his best friend and the object of his obsession (played by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content