December 20, 2019

Darius Khondji Was Forced To Shoot 'Uncut Gems' in New Ways and He Loved It

The renowned cinematographer and the film’s colorist detail how they achieved the unique aesthetic behind the Safdie brother’s latest.

[Note: This article does contain mild spoilers.]

There’s a sequence in Uncut Gems, a Safdie brother’s film starring Adam Sandler as a gambling-addicted New York jewelry store owner named Howard Ratner, that acts as a quintessential teaching moment in how to block the familiar differently.

The scene has Howard rushing out of a nightclub arguing with his girlfriend Julia (Julia Fox) where singer The Weeknd has just performed for a crowd. The mood grows in intensity as they walk down the street before it eventually boils over. The emotion behind the dialog traditionally calls for close-ups, but the Sadfies instead tracked the characters in profile from a distance, as if the camera could be a pedestrian witnessing their argument from across the street.

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Source: NoFilmSchool