Thursday Movie Picks: Female Cinematographers


Given today’s THURSDAY MOVIE PICK‘s topic is on female cinematographers, I thought I’d reblog this post I did last November.

Check out my appreciation for the fabulous work of Charlotte Bruus Christensen, Rachel Morrison, Maryse Alberti, Mandy Walker, and Ellen Kuras


I’d been wanting to do this post for a while, but somehow haven’t got around to it. Well, thanks to last week’s Thursday Movie Picks on favorite cinematography, which I had actually missed, I thought I should make up for it this week.

The awesome topic came from Brittani who went with films highlighting female cinematographers on her post, so for this list I’m picking five female DPs whose work I admire, and it’s safe to say they’re some of the best DPs working today.

Before I get to that, I must say that perhaps more so than other key players in filmmaking like directors/writers/producers, DPs are still very much a man’s world. Based on, of the top 300 films from 2016 to 2018, 97% were male and 3% were female were credited as the director of photography (DP) across the top live action films, which translates…

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16 thoughts on “Thursday Movie Picks: Female Cinematographers

    1. Hey, great suggestions Brittani! I almost forgot I had done the female DP post that I was going to do a new one, but I realized I was going to pick the same people 😀

  1. Nice post Ruth. Except for Rachel Morrison I have seen some of all these women’s work.

    I agree Christensen did a phenomenal job on the look of Far from the Madding Crowd. The story lends itself to a sumptuous look. My favored version, the Julie Christie/Alan Bates 60’s film also is a breathtakingly beautiful film thanks to DP Nicolas Roeg.

    With Alberti she created a fantastically appropriate and atmospheric setting for Velvet Goldmine. I wasn’t that fond of the film but visually it is impressive.

    Funny when I watched Australia I thought the same thing about it being an inducement to go there! I could have done without Kidman (I always can), but the picture was gorgeous. I LOVE Hidden Figures but must confess I was so into the story that I didn’t take much note of the visuals.

    Kuras has made two films I wasn’t that big a fan of overall, Eternal Sunshine and A Little Chaos, at least resplendently lovely as I struggled through them.

    This week required some digging for me but I did finally find three with women DP’s that I had seen…though to be honest I’m not passionate about any of them but none are bad films.

    Beach Rats (2017)-Teen Frankie (Harris Dickinson) drifts aimlessly between his bleak home life, his loser friends, a potential new girlfriend and the older men he meets online. While narratively diffuse, cinematographer Hélène Louvart immerses the film in a shifting collage of mood and atmosphere, smells, sounds, colors, the look of skin in sunlight and darkness, back-lit by the seedy-glamorous colored lights of the picture’s Coney Island setting.

    Beau Travail (1999)-French Foreign Legion sergeant Galoup (Denis Lavant) must deal with his jealousy when new recruit Sentain (Grégoire Colin) becomes a hero in the eyes of his men. Frustrated that Forestier (Michel Subor) the superior he admires, does not share his resentment for Sentain, Galoup’s envy of the recruit becomes too much for him bear and his downward spiral begins. Cinematographer Agnès Godard uses the sun-bleached terrains of the film’s East Africa setting and juxtaposes it to the sun kissed taut physiques of the participants creating what was termed a “voluptuous austerity” upon the picture’s release.

    Swoon (1992)-A highly stylized recounting of the infamous thrill killing of young Bobby Frank by rich teens Nathan Leopold Jr. (Craig Chester) and Richard Loeb (Daniel Schlachet) that led to one of the most notorious trials of the 1920’s. Cinematographer Ellen Kraus uses a black & white palette to blend the anachronistic touches of the film into the disturbing sadomasochistic tone of the story.

    1. Hello Joel, pardon the tardy reply. You said you’re not familiar w/ Rachel Morrison? So you haven’t seen Black Panther then?

      Y’know I might be the last blogger who hasn’t seen Eternal Sunshine [gasp] but I have heard it’s got beautiful visuals.

      I’ve heard of cinematographer Agnès Godard but really need to check out some of her films. I haven’t heard of any of the films you speak of, but they all sound good!

      1. To be honest with you Ruth none of my pick are ones I feel as passionately about as I usually do but within the narrow scope of the theme I was glad to come up with three that I at least didn’t hate!!

        I’d list them this way in order of preference Beau Travail, Swoon and Beach Rats but can’t give a ringing endorsement to any. They are all visually beautiful though.

        As far as Black Panther goes, I have major superhero burnout and have for several years. Unfortunately for it the film fell into that period. I do plan on watching it since it has much more positive feedback than most have had of late but I haven’t gotten there yet.

        1. Hi Joel! I hear ya… but even if you’re not as passionate about the films you are still amazing about describing them in such great detail!

          Ok so Beau Travail is the one I’m most intrigued by.

          I understand the burnout with superhero movies… but I still think Black Panther is well worth your time despite that as it’s a good film, not just a good comic book film. Plus Chadwick is such an incredible actor. I still can’t believe he did SO many films while undergoing chemotherapy :\

  2. SuzanneNL

    Hi Ruth!
    My name is Suzanne, I’m studying to become a software developer. Currently, I’m working on my final project, which is a web application with a blog section, a forum, a donation section and hopefully some cool animations. The website is aimed at people who love the rain and is called Pluviophile. While the purpose of this project is to show that I can build this functionality, I do need content. Therefore I was wondering if I could copy the text from your lovely blog:

    (I couldn’t find your email address so I chose to respond to your latest blogpost). I understand and appreciate that a lot of time goes into writing blogs. Therefore I would give credit both in the blog on the deployed version of the website (which will be Heroku), and in the README file on GitHub. The website will be viewed by the project assessors, and I would like to show it to future employers to demonstrate my skills. The website would not be seen by a big audience.Could you please let me know if you give permission for copying the text from your blog? I would very much appreciate it.Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hello Suzanne, yes you can absolutely use the text from my blog post so long as you credit me and link back to the post. If you need to discuss further, you can email me here:

      Thanks for reaching out!

  3. We match with Hidden Figures! I’m glad to see that and I loved watching every trailer. I won’t see the Danish film…to close to home for me. If he is innocent, then that is so wrong of that brat but if she is not….he deserves everything that comes to him. I want to really see A Little Chaos because of the leads and the setting.

    1. Hi Birgit! I think Hidden Figures is a beautiful movie visually and story-wise.

      Are you referring to The Hunt? It’s unsettling but it’s so impeccably acted by Mads Mikkelsen. A Little Chaos is lovely and as a huge fan of Alan Rickman, also sad as it’s his last film.

      1. Yes, I am referring to The Hunt. It looks excellent but I just can’t. I abhor any kid that could destroy a person and it is easy to do it this way. I am also a statistic which happened to me when I was 7. I am 56(soon 57) and, you know, I still can’t remember one moment. All I recall was playing with my friend in his backyard and the S.O.B.(friend’s mom’s boyfriend) playing with us. He then told my friend to stay put and took me by the hand next door to his apartment building. I remember seeing the light from the big livingroom window and everything else looking dark as he led me somewhere. The next thing I can remember is walking back across the lawn to my friend. I have a feeling i know what happened but I get uneasy thinking about it and that’s OK because the mind will let me know one day if it wants me to. I know TMI..hahahaa. It doesn’t bother me now to be open about it. So that is Alan Rickman’s last sad. I really miss that actor.

        1. Oh my goodness!! So sorry it happened to you, Birgit. Our minds work in mysterious ways… and I totally believe we can remember things that happened years ago if it impact us in a big way. There are certain movies I cannot watch because of certain issues I dealt with in the past, so yeah I completely understand. I would not recommend The Hunt to you… there are sooo many other films that wouldn’t cause you to recall painful memories!

          I really miss Alan Rickman too… such a terrific actor and he seems like a lovely man off-screen as well.

  4. Pingback: The Alliance Lately: Issue No. 27 – The Minnesota Film Critics Alliance

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