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Briones captures distant ‘Planet’ with acumen of a native son

10 Cinematographers to Watch 2013: Inti Briones

It’s a very long way from Chile to the Caucasus, but Chilean d.p. Inti Briones — who was actually born in Lima, Peru, and lived there until age 20 — shot the 2011 thriller “The Loneliest Planet” as if a native son of the wild Eurasian region, with an eye for both the beauty and danger of the mountains.

“The experience was pleasant and intense at the same time and the use of natural light, not wanting to be naturalistic in our aesthetics, was one of our greatest challenges,” he says.

And to “spice up” the cinematic journey, the d.p. says he partly shot the film with an old Soviet-era Lomo 35mm camera. “With the ‘imperfection’ of the lens, we achieved a great balance between the beauty of the place and the rarity of history,” he adds.

Briones’ interest in light and shadow began in childhood, watching “the sunlight on mirrors inside the house.” At 20 he studied with Hector Rios, “who became one of my teachers and guides. And meeting directors like Ignacio Aguero, Pablo Perelman and Raul Ruiz was the beginning of my career in Chile.”

He credits working with Ruiz, “on almost all the movies filmed in Chile, since 2000 or so,” as his big break, along with shooting 2008’s “The Sky, the Earth and the Rain” for Jose Luis Torres Leiva, “where, for reasons deeply narrative and our inability to use digital processes in those days, we used an almost artisan slight discoloration of the film, inspired by a method called ENR.”

The busy Briones, who describes his aesthetic approach and philosophy as “a kind of shamanic ritual, in which the purpose is find, reveal, discover, transform,” just finished filming “El verano de los peces voladores” for Marcela Said and is bouncing between Chile and Brazil, prepping a film with Flavia Castro and doing color correction on two other films.

Favorite tool: “The dark — for each project, I think a lot about what you need to stop naming. The lens is also a great ally in my work. They are the eyes with which I face such darkness. But an indispensable tool is dialogue with the director and producer.”

Inspiration: “The cinema of Kubrick, Tarkovsky, Truffaut, Russian cinematography, (Nestor) Almendros, Hector Rios, Gabriel Figueroa and (Gregg) Toland, the literature of Cesar Vallejo, Jorge Teillier, Jose Maria Arguedas, Renaissance painting, photography by Martin Chambi, Evgen Bavcar, Bresson. . .”

Representation: In Brazil; Carol Conde

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