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Christopher Doyle Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (1)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (16)  | Personal Quotes (24)

Overview (1)

Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mini Bio (1)

Christopher Doyle was born on May 2, 1952 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He is a cinematographer and actor, known for Paranoid Park (2007), Hero (2002) and 2046 (2004).

Trade Mark (1)

Extremely bright, vivid colors

Trivia (16)

Speaks fluent French and Mandarin
Has made 8 films with Kar-Wai Wong.
His Chinese name is Du Ke Fung which means `like the wind'.
Has worked as an oil driller in India, a cow herder in Israel, and a doctor of Chinese medicine in Thailand.
Left Australia at 18.
First learned Mandarin in Taiwan.
Spent three years traveling the world on a Norwegian ship.
Shot Gus Van Sant's remake Psycho (1998) without having seen the original.
Born in the outskirts of Sydney, Australia.
Is the eldest of five children from a family of doctors.
Shot the music video "Getaway" for the band Scottish band Texas in 2005. Lead singer Sharleen Spiteri said they were happy to get him because they had been "stealing" from his work for years.
In addition to Mandarin and French, he speaks Cantonese fluently, and is taking lessons in Spanish, Japanese and Thai. His Chinese is at a higher level than his English.
Freddy Cintron Chinese Name is: Fo Lai Ti Hsin Chen. a name he got in Taiwan when Gaffing " Moon Lady".
Is an admirer of Steve McQueen's Hunger (2008). [2013].
Is an admirer of Alejandro Jodorowsky and worked with him on Endless Poetry (2016).
Said in an interview that he might not get along with notoriously difficult and demanding directors like James Cameron or Michael Mann, but he also was never offered work by them. In general, Doyle said, he prefers much more to work with first-time directors and tries to "enjoy each other's company". [The Film Stage, Dec. 2019].

Personal Quotes (24)

I left Australia when I was 18 and I've been a foreigner for 36 years. I think that's very important to the way I work because as a foreigner you see things differently. But I started making Chinese-language films so I regard myself as a Chinese filmmaker. I just happen to be white. Or pink, actually.
I really think music and movement - dance, you know - and literature inform my visuals. I think film is also based in dance. The relationship between me, the camera and the actor is always a dance.
I went to France and tried to learn cinematography. Then I realized that I didn't care. So I came back to making films as I could. I think I started to know what I was doing in the middle of Days of Being Wild (1990). You can't learn how to make films. You gotta make mistakes and you have to appropriate the mistakes, and then you learn from those things. Then you have a voice.
I went to Taiwan to study Chinese and, as usual, I hung out in bars, and people in bars are usually musicians and artistic kinds of people. I had accumulated a little life experience so I could articulate things which were a little bit more complex than I could actually do and for some reason Edward Yang trusted me. And then we made this film ("That Day on the Beach," 1983) that won all these awards and I didn't know what I was doing. I fluked it.
My best film is always my next film. I couldn't make Chungking Express (1994) now, because of the way I live and drink I've forgotten how I did it. I don't believe in film school or film theory. Just try and get in there and make the bloody film, do good work and be with people you love.
For years most people didn't know I wasn't yellow. Du Ke Fung [his Chinese name] means `like the wind'. It's an extremely poetic name, as opposed to this piece of shit sitting before you. So this person called Du Ke Fung with no past or parents or ID card makes the films and at night he turns back into this drunkard called Chris Doyle.
Looks like we got it right on Hero and if you get it right the eye connects directly with the heart, doesn't matter what the language is. But Hollywood has fallen into making mechanistic, assembly-line movies. Now they have to steal ideas from Asia because that's where the originality is. I have a very strong identification with Asia, there's a different type of energy there, and I had a delayed adolescence in China so I feel I grew up there.
I was born Australian but I'm more Francis Bacon than Mel Gibson, who is the antithesis of me. Actually, I always wanted to be the Mick Jagger of cinema but I think I'm the Keith Richards, by force of habit, perhaps.
I didn't start making films until I was 34. But that wasted youth was probably the most valuable asset for what I'm doing now. You see the world, you end up in jail three or four times, you accumulate experience. And it gives you something to say. If you don't have anything to say then you shouldn't be making films. It's nothing to do with what lens you're using.
I think what we're doing here [Asia] is much more valid. We've got half the world's population here. The implications are as evident as they would be for the French New Wave.
The idea is becoming a blueprint. The visual aspect of film is expanding, we're evolving a new relationship with film-making over here [Asia]. I really think we've moved beyond all that auteur theory. People will have to come up with a different theory for what we're doing here.
The East is rising and the energy of the region is reflected in everything we do here, whether commercial, military or cinematic. I just happen to be part of that. We're in a golden age of cinematography. Most people are on-line at least four hours a day. They're seeing images all the time and their visual sophistication is jumping far beyond all the old farts in the Academy.
I was born five months after my parents were married, so I understand why mistakes have informed my world.
I feel that 2046 (2004) is unnecessary, in retrospect. I think probably Kar-Wai Wong realized that somewhere, and that's why it took so long. You do realize that you have basically said what you needed to say, so why say more? I feel that way. I think you have to move on.
What I'm trying to do is make the camera-work lyrical rather than fragmentary. It's a dance between the camera and the actors.
Nothing's perfect... and it's in the imperfection there is possibility.
Occasionally I still get shit offered to me. I think that people who would have the temerity to work with me know they're in for a ride, and I'm proud of that. I'm not even a cinematographer. I'm a collaborator.
I've done like 15 films this year and they were all like 3 or 4 days, and I think this is the future. You have a focus, you collect a group of people, you get support and you just go for it.[2014]
But their gravity is money. Which is fine, just go ahead, but I don't feel much a part of that because of all the other bullshit that comes with it. It's a political movement basically, coming with all the complications, all the bureaucracy and all the accountants. It's like the guy who did The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008). I just happened to be in Poland, doing a small film that I wrote and directed in Warsaw [Warsaw Dark (2008)], and there's a party for "Narnia 2", like, the opening, I don't know what. And the guy comes up to me and says, "Chris, I'm going through hell." And I say why, and he says "278 million dollars budget. It's not a film, I'm dealing with accountants the whole time, it's all about the money. After this," he says, "I'm not gonna do anything over 30 million dollars!" [Doyle laughs uproariously] Like that was nothing ! But we're gonna struggle in the trenches, because ultimately I think how many bloody remakes of things can you watch ? That's going to shift, the demographic will shift, and then those poor fuckers will have to come back to us. It's happened always: It happened in the '60s in American film, you have Easy Rider (1969). It happened with the New Wave. You sell your popcorn and your shit, and then they'll see everyone's online watching these really great films watching made by young people in Indonesia or Burma, and fuck your special effects. And then the money people will say "oh shit, too much is happening online" and of course they have to chase the money, but by that stage the money will be us. [2014]
My closest friends are all either filmmakers or musicians. And so that's why that is. It's very rare that a 'filmmaker filmmaker' approaches me. It's always a friend who says "oh, let's make a film together." Which is really great, because then the intimacy or the complicity, whatever you call it, is there already. So you don't have to work on the "film" part of it, and you don't have to have the meetings or the discussions about style and all that kind of crap. You just go for it, because you know each other in a more basic and more integral way.[2014]
[on the digital revolution in filmmaking] I think it's fantastic, I think this is the most astonishing period of film history. And I should say: just do it. Kids! Just fucking do it. There used to be a time where you had to do this and this and this, and you had to save up enough money to buy an 8mm camera and film and send it all to process...now you just turn on your phone and you're on CNN if you want, or you're making a film. I think it's fantastic. The point is not about the materials. It's the ideas, the energy, the collaboration. It's how you express yourself. (...) It's a personalization, and that's fantastic, because then you're not going to pretend to be Spielberg or Chris Doyle, you're going to be who you are and that will have a voice of its own that will resonate.[2014]
I think the point of Camerimage [Festival] and of me coming here every year is to say, "It's only a film." But it's your life. It's only a film, but it has to be yours. If you don't have a life, how are you going to make a film? I think that's my real message, in general. What a privilege I've been given to have this voice called "cinema" to express stuff that matters to me. I come here every year, I never see any films because I'm so busy preparing my talk. [Dec.2019]
I really believe our obligation is, hopefully, to share something that matters. Film doesn't matter. Technique doesn't matter. Lighting doesn't matter. Some of my favorite films look like shit. [Dec.2019]
That's what the function of cinema is - especially cinematography - to show you the world in another way. Now, [Laughs], our challenge is how to get to you. I've made so many films that you've never seen, but I made them with the same intent, with the same energy - perhaps more energy than In the Mood for Love (2000). But you've never seen them. So our challenge is not the challenge of ideas and integrity and what we can communicate, which is what we're talking about now. Our challenge is how to get people to see what we do. I've made 110 films, you know. [Laughs] But you've only seen ten of them, probably. [Dec.2019]

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