Christopher Blauvelt is a rising star behind the camera, as cinematographer for 2013’s The Bling Ring and Max Rose, and this year’s Low Down and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby. Known for his work with Harmony Korine and Sofia Coppola, he turned over his talents to Kelly Reichardt for her moody, eerie eco-thriller, Night Moves.
Josh Ralske, MovieMaker Magazine (MM): Meek’s Cutoff was your first feature as cinematographer. How did you end up working with Kelly Reichardt?
Christopher Blauvelt (CB): I was introduced to Kelly by our producer Neil Kopp whom I had known from the Gus Van Sant film Paranoid Park. Kelly was looking for someone and took Neil’s recommendation, thankfully for me.
MM: Reichardt is a very visually-oriented filmmaker. Could you tell us how your collaboration with her works? She seems to have a very collaborative mindset. Is that the case?
CB: Yes, I feel the films we’ve done have been very collaborative in the way we shoot and discuss the approach. We start by breaking down the script into our shot lists and we’re constantly pulling from all kinds of mediums – from films, of course, to paintings and photographs. Kelly’s knowledge of filmmaking is tremendous and it’s a great experience to work out the ways to try and make our films unique.
MM: You capture the region so beautifully. Do you have an affinity for shooting this type of bucolic landscape? Can you explain how these lovely, placid images also capture an underlying sense of menace?
CB: It was important for us to show the environment the way that Josh [Jesse Eisenberg], Dena [Dakota Fanning], and Harmon [Peter Sarsgaard] would have seen them to understand their disdain for the human impact on it all.
MM: A lot of the characterization in Night Moves is revealed through observation, as opposed to through dialogue. Is it a particular challenge to work on a film where so much vital information is conveyed solely through imagery?
CB: No, I think the difficulty lies within trying to show things with some subtlety and avoiding the hand-fed shooting styles of contemporary cinema used so much in mainstream films. MM
Night Moves is currently in theaters, courtesy of Cinedigm. All pictures courtesy of Cinedigm and Tipping Point Productions LLC. Stay tuned this week for Josh Ralske’s full interviews with Kelly Reichardt and Jesse Eisenberg, which also appear in our Summer 2014 issue (on stands June 24, 2014).
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