“In Preparation We Talked About Claude Sautet’s Films”: DP George Lechaptois on Other People’s Children
Rebecca Zlowtowski’s longtime cinematographer discusses shooting Other People’s Children, the writer-director’s latest film that stars Virginie Efira and Roschdy Zem and grapples with themes of motherhood and the concept of being child-free.
See all responses to our annual Sundance cinematographer interviews here.
Filmmaker: How and why did you wind up being the cinematographer of your film? What were the factors and attributes that led to your being hired for this job?
Lechaptois: I met [director] Rebecca [Zlowtowski] in 2009 when shooting her first feature Belle Epine. I have since shot all her films.
Filmmaker: What were your artistic goals on this film, and how did you realize them? How did you want your cinematography to enhance the film’s storytelling and treatment of its characters?
Lechaptois: My work on films is, in general, very intuitive. I try to interpret the directors’ wishes. With Rebecca, I can say that we know each other very well. In preparation we talked about Claude Sautet’s films. There is something between Romy Schneider and Virginie Efira. For me, the most important thing is how I look at the other, the body that is in front of the camera. What is the best place for the camera in each shot. How light will transform it. So, I try to use natural light and lighting in the simplest way.
Filmmaker: What camera did you shoot on? Why did you choose the camera that you did? What lenses did you use?
Lechaptois: All the digital movies I shot with an ALEXA. For this movie I used an ALEXA SXT and ALEXA Mini. I did a lot of optical testing at Vantages Films in Paris where I discovered the anamorphic series Hawk Class-X. I also used the zoom 30-80 and the 80-180 Hawk Class-X. For the shooting I used a look from the ARRI library. We did the grading using the same look.
Filmmaker: What was the most difficult scene to realize and why? And how did you do it?
Lechaptois: The car scenes — I don’t know if this is the most difficult scene, at least I had not done something like this before this film. We did a lot of research on how to shoot car scenes. Finally, the majority of car scenes we shot in a virtual studio. Night scenes, rainy day. Part of the accident combined with real exteriors. It’s a lot of fun to do.
Film Title: Other People’s Children
Camera: Alexa SXT, Alexa mini
Lenses: Hawk anamophic Class-X