Premium cinema lens manufacturer Angénieux hosts the “Pierre Angénieux Tribute” every year in Cannes, to celebrate an exceptional cinematographer’s career. The star-studded special ceremony is typically presided over by Cannes General Delegate Thierry Frémaux and presented by French journalist Pierre Zéni, at the Palais des Festivals. This event represents a unique opportunity to spotlight cinematography professionals, without whom cinema would not exist.
This year, French-Iranian cinematographer Darius Khondji will receive the prestigious “Pierre Angénieux Tribute”.
He will be the ninth director of photography to receive this prestigious tribute after Philippe Rousselot in 2013, Vilmos Zsigmond in 2014, Roger A. Deakins in 2015, Peter Suschitzky in 2016, Christopher Doyle in 2017, Edward Lachman n 2018, Bruno Delbonnel in 2019 and Agnès Godard in 2021.
Darius Khondji has shot in France several times, with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, among others. His career though has primarily been built internationally, along with leading figures such as David Fincher, Bernardo Bertolucci, Alan Parker, Neil Jordan, Roman Polanski, Danny Boyle, Woody Allen, Sydney Pollack, Michael Haneke, Wong Kar-wai, James Gray, Bong Joon-ho, Nicolas Winding Refn, Joshua and Ben Safdie or most recently with Alejandro González Iñarritú.
In addition to being the laureate at this tribute on Friday May 27, Khondji will also give an in-person cinematography Masterclass on the morning of Thursday May 26. More information to follow on the location of the Masterclass.
Khondji is the DoP of Armageddon Time by James Gray, which premieres in Competition at this year's Festival de Cannes, using Angénieux lenses.
“I am very attached to optics. It's not always rational, more in the realm of inspiration, but it has had an enormous importance since the beginning of my work. I am attached to the shape of the camera, its proximity to the body, to the eye." Darius Khondji
Born on October 21, 1955 in Tehran, Iran, Khondji was three years old when his family moved to France. In 1976, he chose to attend film school in the United States. While in New York, he took courses at the International Center of Photography (ICP) while regularly visiting museums.
After spending two years in the U.S., he returned to France and decided to pursue the profession of cinematographer. He became the second assistant camera to Eduardo Serra, then assistant director. His meeting with Bruno Nuytten, also a cinematographer and frequent collaborator with French experimental filmmaker Marguerite Duras, was decisive.
After a stint as an assistant operator, he also began to produce images for advertisements and clips. One of these was Tandem by Vanessa Paradis, directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Khondji's career as a cinematographer kicked off in 1990 with Treasure of the Bitch Islands by François-Jacques Ossang. This was followed by Delicatessen (1993) and The City of Lost Children (1995) by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro.
Khondji first worked in Hollywood in 1995, with David Fincher on Se7en. For him it was the beginning of a long career in Hollywood, Europe, Asia and most recently in Mexico with Alejandro González Iñarritú. Khondji regularly collaborates with a series of directors, as he's worked on five films for Woody Allen, three for James Gray, two for David Fincher and also Bong Joon-ho.
Very attached to traditional film, Khondji nevertheless shot digitally with Michael Haneke (Amour, 2012) and Bong Joon-ho (Okja, 2017).
Alongside his film career, he has also been the cinematographer for some of the many music videos directed by Chris Cunningham, including Frozen for Madonna, Afrika Shox for Leftfield and Jay-Z's Marcy Me music video directed by Joshua and Ben Safdie. He also renewed his partnership with French visual artist Philippe Parreno on various projects.
Angénieux is world-renowned for its cinema lenses. The company has been honored with three ACADEMY AWARDS® (1964, 1989, 2009), receiving the Technical Achievement Award (2012) from the Society of Camera Operators and the Bert Easey Technical Award (2014) by the British Society of Cinematographers: Angénieux lenses have become a point of reference for image professionals, they are used worldwide for cinema, television, music videos and commercials.
The brand’s history started in 1935, more than 80 years ago, with the creation of the Pierre Angénieux Company. In 1993, Angénieux became a Thales Group brand. Cinema enthusiast and genius inventor, Pierre Angénieux laid the foundations of the modern zoom lenses and ensured his company’s continued success, which experienced an incredible destiny.
Published in 2019 the book "Angénieux and Cinema: From Light to Image” (Silvana Editoriale) retraces the incredible adventure of Angénieux through 270 illustrated pages.. The book is available in English and French.