Team Deakins: Darius Khondji, Cinematographer

Roger Deakins and James Deakins
July 25, 2021
Team Deakins (rogerdeakins.com)

The Team Deakins podcast is an ongoing conversation between acclaimed cinematographer Roger Deakins and James Deakins, his collaborator, about cinematography, the film business and whatever other questions are submitted. We start with a specific question and end….who knows where! We are joined by guests periodically. Followup questions can be posted in the forums at rogerdeakins.com.

Team Deakins talks with cinematographer Darius Khondji (Uncut Gems, Alien Resurrection, Se7en). We talk a lot about light, specifically learning how to light and how he started to learn with natural light. He shares the experience of working with David Fincher on the film Se7en and how their collaboration allowed him to take risks. He speaks about how important it is to get to understand the director and how he sees visual style as a house that you have to find the key to unlocking and that he usually finds this key through the character. Darius tells us about working on the movies Lost City of Z, Uncut Gems, My Blueberry Nights, and Amour. He also shares his thoughts on working in features and television. A wonderful glimpse into the eye of a great cinematographer!

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Starring… David Fincher

Jodie Foster
Panic Room” EPK (2002)

STARRING… DAVID FINCHER

SEVEN
David Fincher (1995)
David Fincher as “John Doe” (Promo clip alternative audio)

BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
Spike Jonze (1999)
David Fincher as “Christopher Bing” (Uncredited)

FULL FRONTAL
Steven Soderbergh (2002)
David Fincher as “Film Director”

“We walk in there with a china cup… they want beer mugs!”

DIRT. Season 1, Episode 1
Matthew Carnahan (2007)
David Fincher as “Himself”

LOGORAMA
François Alaux & Hervé de Crécy (2009)
David Fincher as “Pringles Original” / Andrew Kevin Walker as “Pringles Hot & Spicy”

Director David Fincher discusses Mank with Aaron Sorkin

A DGA Virtual Q&A

February 6, 2021
The Director’s Cut. A DGA (Directors Guild of America) Podcast

A disillusioned screenwriter in old Hollywood gets a shot at redemption in Director David Fincher’s biographical comedy-drama, Mank.

Fincher’s film takes place as film 24-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles hires scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz to write the screenplay for his masterpiece, Citizen Kane.

On February 6, Fincher discussed the making of Mank in a DGA Virtual Q&A moderated by Director Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7).

During their conversation, Fincher spoke about his love for “the altar of cinema,” the communal aspect that can come through film. “For me, what I love about cinema is going into a big dark room with 700 people and through their laughter and through their surprise and through their shock and through their reactions you realize, I’m not alone. I’m the same. I’m wired into this group in the same way just organically and I’m picking up on all these other cues. That is what makes the cinema, or a great grand theater, an almost cathedral-like experience.”

Fincher’s other directorial credits include the feature films Se7enThe GamePanic RoomZodiacGone Girl; episodes of the television series House of Cards and Mindhunter; and countless commercials and music videos. He has been nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film for The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonThe Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In 2013, he was nominated for the DGA Award for Dramatic Series for House of Cards, “Chapter 1” and has twice been nominated for the DGA Award for his Commercial work with Anonymous Content in 2003 and 2008, winning the Award in 2003 for Beauty for Sale (Xelibri Phones), Gamebreakers (Nikegridiron.Com) and Speed Chain (Nike).

Fincher has been a DGA member since 1991.

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Sound + Image Lab: David Fincher and Ren Klyce Transport Us to The Golden Age of Hollywood in “Mank”

Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute
February 9, 2021
The Dolby Institute

Mank” has been a personal passion project for David Fincher for several decades now. His own father wrote the script, about the famously self-destructive writer of “Citizen Kane,” and Fincher was determined to make the film feel as authentic as possible. Almost like it was an undiscovered artifact from Hollywood’s “Golden Age,” insisting for years to film it in black & white, 1:33​, and in mono. He once again joined forces with his longtime collaborator, sound designer Ren Klyce, to do exactly that. But building this time capsule turned out to be a surprisingly challenging process.

“It’s beyond production value. Sound is a portal into a stranger’s mind that is incredibly influential. And if we don’t avail ourselves of this access, um… then we’re stupid and we should die (laughs).” – David Fincher, director of “Mank”

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IndieWire Influencers: David Fincher & Sound Designer Ren Klyce

Influencers: Through their decades-long partnership, the pair have constantly refined how sound can be used to shape a viewer’s emotional response.

Chris O’Falt
January 13, 2021
IndieWire

David Fincher and Ren Klyce came of age during a seminal time for Hollywood: when the pair were just kids, a group of ’70s filmmakers was reshaping what it meant to make movies, right from the pair’s native Bay Area. In a biographical detail almost too perfect to be true, George Lucas rented a house in Marin County to edit his “THX 1138,” that just so happened to be located right next door to the Klyce family’s home. A single suburban lawn is all that separated a then-9-year-old Ren from the great Walter Murch, just as he was starting to change modern movie sound forever, work he’d continue throughout the decade with another NorCal auteur, Francis Ford Coppola. And it would be on a Lucas-produced animated feature, “Twice Upon a Time,” that future sound designer Klyce would meet his Coppola, a then-19-year-old Fincher.

Over the last 25 years, as Hollywood has utilized the multi-channel surround technology pioneered by Murch to create bombastic soundtracks that all too often mask a lack of craft, Klyce has helped Fincher explore the subconscious underbelly of his own films, constantly refining how sound can be used to shape a viewer’s emotional response.

“To me, sound design is not about 96 channels all at 11, and two side cars giving you this sound pressure-gasm; to me, it’s very much about the detail and the nuance and maybe things that you wouldn’t even be aware that you heard until the second or third time you saw it,” said Fincher in an interview about his collaboration with Klyce. “I can’t talk more enthusiastically about someone [Klyce] I feel has very subtly pushed what sound designers do.”

Read the full profile and watch the 3 exclusive video essays

David Fincher, the Unhappiest Auteur

The director makes beautiful bummers in an industry that prefers happy endings. Perhaps that’s why his movies seem like an endangered species.

Manohla Dargis
January 1, 2021
The New York Times

For nearly three decades, David Fincher has been making gorgeous bummer movies that — in defiance of Hollywood’s first principle — insist that happy endings are a lie. Filled with virtuosic images of terrible deeds and violence, his movies entertain almost begrudgingly. Even when good somewhat triumphs, the victories come at a brutal cost. No one, Fincher warns, is going to save us. You will hurt and you will die, and sometimes your pretty wife’s severed head will end up in a box.

Long a specialized taste, Fincher in recent years started to feel like an endangered species: a commercial director who makes studio movies for adult audiences, in an industry in thrall to cartoons and comic books. His latest, “Mank,” a drama about the film industry, was made for Netflix, though. It’s an outlier in his filmography. Its violence is emotional and psychological, and there’s only one corpse, even if its self-destructive protagonist, Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), can look alarmingly cadaverous. Set in Hollywood’s golden age, it revisits his tenure in one of the most reliably bitter and underappreciated Hollywood tribes, a.k.a. screenwriters.

Read the full article

La Septième Obsession 31: David Fincher

La Septième Obsession

OBSESSION: David Fincher

1. Mank de David Fincher

Le grand film de Fincher débarque sur Netflix le 4 décembre. L’occasion d’un entretien avec le cinéaste, mais aussi avec ses collaborateurs les plus proches. 16 pages spéciales.

Scénario pour une critique par Nicolas Tellop

Filmopathe entretien avec David Fincher – par Nev Pierce

Collaborer avec Fincher entretiens avec Erik Messerschmidt (chef opérateur) – Donald Graham Burt (chef décorateur) – Trish Summerville (costumière) – Kirk Baxter (monteur)

2. Revisiter Fincher

Plongée exceptionnelle dans l’oeuvre de l’un des plus grands cinéastes contemporains. Filmographie commentée, analyses… 50 pages à lire.

4 nuances de Fincher par Jean-Sébastien Massart et Fabrice Fuentes

David Fincher en 14 titres Propaganda Films (clips) – Alien 3Se7enThe GameFight ClubPanic Room + les plans de Panic RoomZodiacL’Étrange histoire de Benjamin ButtonThe Social Network Millénium + la musique hantée de MilléniumGone Girl Mindhunter

3. Analyses

Démoniaque – la perfection du crime par Nathan Reneaud
Fantômes et paranoïa par Jérôme d’Estais
Solitude & obsession – Fincher Dogma par Alexandre Jourdain
Poétique du suicide par Aurélien Lemant
Le système des objets – design finchérien par Dick Tomasovic

Sommaire complet

Commander

Mix Magazine 2020: The Music in Sound with Ren Klyce

Ren Klyce in Peter Elsea’s Studio (1984)

Larry Blake
November 5, 2020
Mix Magazine / SoundWorks Collection

Animated short for Sesame Street (January 17, 1984) produced by John Korty. Sound and music by Ren Klyce:

All Hell Broke Loose: David Fincher’s Se7en And The Medieval Morality Play

David Fincher’s grisly neo-noir turns 25 this year, but its major influences go back much further than the film industry. Kristina Murkett explores the film’s roots in the medieval morality play

Kristina Murkett
September 25, 2020
The Quietus

The gruesome, grim and gut-wrenching ending of Se7en is unparalleled. The “What’s in the box?” scene is a murderous masterpiece; Fincher’s direction is so violent, visceral and unsettling that the scene becomes not only about an execution on film, but the execution of film-making.

All of the elements in this scene combine to create the final climax in which detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) shoots serial-killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey): the sickly yellow colour palette; the handheld camera shots; the ominous crescendo in the score; and the menacing metaphor of Doe’s silhouette in his blood-red uniform against the setting sun.

In killing him, Mills fulfils Doe’s prophecy; in Doe’s own words, he “[becomes] vengeance, [becomes] wrath.”

Twenty-five years ago, when audiences first walked out of the cinema solemn and more than a little shell-shocked, critics realised the seismic power of the film. Roger Ebert said that​ “Se7en is one of the darkest and most merciless films ever made in the Hollywood mainstream,” whilst John Wrathall described it as “the most complex and disturbing entry in the serial killer genre since Manhunter.”

These reviews still ring true; the film’s themes are intense, insidious, and irredeemably gloomy, and yet the performances and psychological terror of the script are still undeniably gripping. Its box-office success (it was the seventh-highest grossing film of 1995) arguably secured Fincher’s image as a master of bleak, bold blockbusters, and it is still the 28th most highly rated film of all time on IMDb.

There are many works that had an important influence on the film: Silence of the Lambs, Psycho and M, to name a few. However, one of the most revelatory influences, and one that can help us to understand the fatal foreshadowing of the characters’ endings, is actually a genre that came 500 years before Se7en: the medieval morality play.

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The David Fincher You Meet in His Movies

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Se7en and the 10th anniversary of The Social NetworkThe Ringer hereby dubs September 21-25 David Fincher Week. Join us all throughout the week as we celebrate and examine the man, the myth, and his impeccable body of work.

The protagonists of everything from ‘Fight Club’ to ‘Zodiac’ to ‘Gone Girl’ have something in common: they’re all cut from the same cloth as their director

Adam Nayman
September 23, 2020
The Ringer

No filmmaker has ever put himself into his work like Alfred Hitchcock. In movie after movie, the director made blink-or-miss-them appearances located at the edge of the frame—crossing a street walking a dog; appearing in a photo for a weight loss clinic—that prompted audiences to play a game of spot-the-auteur. These slyly miniaturized acts of showmanship were simultaneously sight gags and wry reminders of who was really in charge: The so-called “master of suspense” mixed in among the actors he infamously referred to as “cattle.”

David Fincher has not appeared in any of his own films: the closest thing to a cameo comes in 2014’s Gone Girl, a positively Hitchcockian thriller right down to its shower scene featuring a bloody blond. Midway through the film, suspected wife killer Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is being coached on an upcoming television appearance by his high-priced lawyer Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry), who’s determined that his client makes just the right impression. During their dressing room prep session, the attorney pelts Nick with gummy bears to sharpen his posture and line readings. Perry supposedly didn’t know who Fincher was before being cast in the part, but that doesn’t preclude the fact that in this scene, he’s doing an indirect impression of his director—a control freak who once said there are only two ways to shoot any given scene, and that one of them is always wrong.

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