Stephanie Weber Biron:
This young French-Canadian cinematographer & director is known for her collaborations with her fellow countryman: the film making prodigy Xavier Dolan. Biron has lensed Dolan’s last two features, J’ai tue ma mere (I Killed My Mother) and Les Amours Imaginaires, both of which are visually sumptuous works of film art. A resident of Montreal and a graduate of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema in the city, her work in contemporary film stretches across the fields of cinematography, producing and directing, for both short films and music videos for some of Montreal’s hippest acts. Her portfolio as a cinematographer, in particular her work for Dolan, shows an expressionistic use of colour and brilliant manipulation of natural lighting.
In Les Amours Imaginaries, Biron paints Dolan’s ménage-a-trois love story in lush pop art colours: the rich red tints of the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae or the fuchsia pink jeans worn by Dolan’s character, Francis. Biron’s use of colour helps drive the narrative of the film. There are far too many scenes to pick from to illustrate the skill of Biron’s lens in Les Amours Imaginaires, but one in particular sticks in the mind. During Nicholas’s (Niels Schnieder) birthday party, flashes of electric pink and blue lights pulse around the dancers, swaying to the music of The Knife, as Francis & Marie (Monia Chokri) experience visions of ancient Greek warriors & abstract drawings: their own visual interpretations of their infatuated love for this character. In J’ai tue ma mere, Biron’s eye catching use of saturated colours amidst the dream sequences in the autumnal woods is stunning. In a medium still heavily dominated by men, Stephanie Weber Biron is breaking new ground.
Lance Acord has established himself prominently within the highest circles of contemporary cinematography with his diverse and stunning work over the last decade. A West Coast native and graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute Acord began his career in photography, collaborating with Bruce Weber and shooting music videos for the likes of R.E.M. Eventually progressing to feature films he is known for his working relationships with key members of the American New Wave movement of the 90s: Spike Jonze and Sofia Coppola. The breakout hit for Acord was shooting Vincent Gallo’s semi autobiographical indie classic Buffalo 66 with Christina Ricci and Angelica Huston, receiving much acclaim for his work on the film.
Renowned for his dreamy, languid shooting style favouring natural lighting and bright colours it’s easy to see why he would be the go to cinematographer for filmmakers like Coppola and Jonze. For Coppola’s controversial biopic of the French Monarch Marie Antoinette Acord’s exquisite photography captures the opulent beauty of life at Versailles with its explosion of pastel colours and long dreamy sunsets, but also the loneliness of Kirsten Dunst’s queen, his camera keeping its distance as Dunst cuts a tragic figure through the fountains and flowers of Versailles. Taking a similar approach to Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, Acord creates so much of the film’s texture with his minimalist compositions and hazy sunsets.