The Cinematographer Is In: Jordan Mintzer's "Conversations with Darius Khondji"

  • MUBI
Delicatessen (1991)Growing up in the mid-to-late nineties, the pan-and-scan generation, I can remember the first time I saw a movie that was shot by Darius Khondji. Se7en, the cinematographer’s first American film and best-known work, looked scarier that any movie I’d seen other than The Shining; it was miasmic and biblically unclean, with deep shadows that seeped and stuck like gunk, rain pelting from a pre-apocalyptic sky. Then came The City of Lost Children, a dark storybook fantasy of Gilliam-esque camera angles, about a squalid port town lost in fog and a mad scientist’s lair built on piles out in a sludge-green sea. That one I watched maybe twenty times, always with sympathy for the disembodied brain Uncle Irvin and for Krank, the child-snatching villain who cannot dream.Later there was Alien: Resurrection, the video for Madonna’s “Frozen,” and The Ninth Gate, another movie I had
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