Ro­drigo Pri­eto on ‘Si­lence,’ Scors­ese and J-Law in bed

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Mex­i­can cin­e­matog­ra­pher Ro­drigo Pri­eto has lit­tle to prove, hav­ing won almost noth­ing but ac­claim over two decades for his col­lab­o­ra­tions with the very big­gest names in film­mak­ing. Since mov­ing to Hol­ly­wood in 2000 he has worked on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions with Oliver Stone, Ale­jan­dro Gonzalez Inar­ritu, Ang Lee and Martin Scors­ese, and shot movies for Cameron Crowe and Pe­dro Almod­ovar. Nom­i­nated only once for an Os­car-for Lee’s 2006 cow­boy love story “Broke­back Moun­tain”-Pri­eto has his big­gest chance yet to go one bet­ter in Fe­bru­ary.

He is among the early fa­vorites to win a cin­e­matog­ra­phy stat­uette for his work on Scors­ese’s re­li­gious his­tor­i­cal epic “Si­lence,” which fea­tures sweep­ing panora­mas of Tai­wan’s rugged, mist-shrouded coast­line. “It’s some­thing I’d en­joy, for sure. It’s not some­thing I strive for when I’m shoot­ing or when I’m de­sign­ing a movie,” he tells AFP. The 51-year-old, who also filmed Morten Tyl­dum’s 2016 sci-fi movie “Pas­sen­gers” with Jen­nifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, has a rep­u­ta­tion for ver­sa­til­ity and his un­con­ven­tional use of light­ing and color. But he in­sists he is never “flashy,” bring­ing what the film de­mands rather than what will make him look clever. “I don’t know if awards and all that rec­og­nize that stuff,” he says, play­ing down his chances of an Os­car nom­i­na­tion.

Sin and sac­ri­fice

From his adop­tive home of Los An­ge­les, Pri­eto has helped lead a re­nais­sance in Mex­i­can cin­ema along­side Inar­ritu through films like “Amores Per­ros,” “21 Grams,” “Ba­bel” and “Biu­ti­ful” (2000-2010). Among his other movies are Ben Af­fleck’s Os­car-win­ner “Argo,” Spike Lee’s “25th Hour” and Cur­tis Han­son’s ac­claimed “8 Mile.”

“Si­lence” is Pri­eto’s sec­ond col­lab­o­ra­tion with Scors­ese since the pair scan­dal­ized Hol­ly­wood with the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll story of in­fa­mous fi­nancier Jor­dan Belfort in 2013’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

“Here we are-this man from New York City and this guy from Mex­ico City do­ing a movie about Por­tuguese priests in Ja­pan,” he re­calls. “It was very for­eign for both of us but re­ally amaz­ing, quite a jour­ney.” With its high-minded med­i­ta­tions on loy­alty, faith, sin and sac­ri­fice, “Si­lence” is tonally the di­a­met­ric op­po­site of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which served up three hours of pro­fan­ity, law­break­ing and nu­dity. Pri­eto said film­ing the love scenes be­tween Lawrence and Pratt in “Pas­sen­gers” was chal­leng­ing, es­pe­cially given it was her first sex scene. “The most im­por­tant thing is that the ac­tors feel com­fort­able, and I know that Jen­nifer was... a lit­tle ner­vous about it,” he re­calls. “Chris Pratt ob­vi­ously is a gen­tle­man and all of us were very re­spect­ful. But it’s tricky, it’s not easy.”

Pri­eto de­vel­oped a love of film­mak­ing as a child in Mex­ico City, where he and his older

‘Op­po­site styles’

brother would make mon­ster movies with their fa­ther’s 8mm cam­era, learn­ing stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion by watch­ing 1960s fan­tasy film “Ja­son and the Arg­onauts.” It whet his ap­petite for the movie busi­ness and he en­rolled in film school, set­ting him on a path that would see him work­ing with some of his he­roes.

Asked what kind of di­rec­tor he prefers-col­lab­o­ra­tive or dic­ta­to­rial, metic­u­lous or freeform, a plan­ner or an im­pro­viser-Pri­eto says he ap­pre­ci­ates the di­ver­sity more than any par­tic­u­lar style.

“Ang Lee and Oliver Stone are kind of almost op­po­site styles and I re­ally en­joy both. Ang is a very pre­cise di­rec­tor, very metic­u­lous. Oliver likes to be sur­prised,” Pri­eto says. “He thrived on a lit­tle bit of chaos on set and you have to be on your toes with Oliver all the time. I think Scors­ese is a mix­ture of both. Same with Inar­ritu. They both are pre­cise but also let things just hap­pen.” — AFP

This file shows cin­e­matog­ra­pher Ro­drigo Pri­eto at­tend­ing The Acad­emy Of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts And Sciences Pre­sents an evening hon­or­ing iconic mex­i­can cin­e­matog­ra­pher Gabriel Figueroa in Bev­erly Hills, Cal­i­for­nia. — AFP

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