Cinematographer’s choices in Portrait of a Lady on Fire

This is an interview with cinematographer, Clair Mathon. In this video, she talks about the format chosen to shoot, technique choices, and difficulties while shooting the film Portrait of a Lady on Fire. She mentions how she was given a choice on whether she wanted to shoot in 35mm format or digital. She tested both but ultimately chose to use the Red Monstro camera. The movie was said to be a recollection by Celine. Additionally. Clair adds that she added close up shots to create a connection and presence in the film. This also makes the film feel more personal. Another point mentioned in this was how the lighting choices were made in the film. There was a lot of mixture of different lighting sources to help create the most natural lighting. Especially when shooting outside, this was difficult since the weather was always changing. Therefore, a lot of installation was needed to create the sunlight, overcast skies, and reflections. The lighting sources also helped the quality of light and the color relationships in the film. Especially with the paintings, it helped with the detail and how the color and tones of the paint created the painting as a whole. Clair also talks about the decisions made while working with fire scenes. It was hard but overall they wanted to key it down so that there was a better focus on the characters. The lighting in this sense helped intensify the actions of the characters. An example I saw in this was when the maid was getting an abortion. The room was lit by the fire pit and the feeling was intense. I felt for the character and it made me more in tune with her. She also talks about the choice of tones in the scenes. In scenes that did not involve fire, she added warmth for the transitions to keep a natural look. 

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