La Cinta de Alex (DP)

AWARDed best cinematography the L’HIFF Barcelona Film Festival and the Cinematic Award at Cyprus International Film Festival.

A Spanish, Indian and American co-production, La Cinta de Alex is a topical drama that explores the relationship between a father and daughter, set against the backdrop of the war on terror. The majority of the film was shot in Rajasthan, India.

A few key dramatic elements shaped our approach to visual design. First and foremost, the film was anchored by the point of view of the daughter. Because the character had never been to India prior to the start of the story, it was important to capture the wonder and chaos that she experiences when journeying to the country with her father. Second, the visual arc of the story is defined by the emotional reconciliation between a father and a daughter who has not seen him in over a decade. Strangers, tested by events in a foreign land, become family.

Vintage Kowa anamorphic lenses provided the perfect proscenium to establish the distance between characters. There is a moment in which father and daughter ride in the back of a taxi on their way to their hotel. The daughter sneaks a quick glance at her father who works on a laptop. A moment later, the father sneaks a quick glance at his daughter as she gazes at the passing landscape. The space between them, even in a cramped taxi back seat, becomes an emotional barrier. The moment became the poster for the film.

The lighting and color cues were built on the unique quality of sunlight in northern India. There is a great deal of particulate in the air from auto exhaust, burning crops and dust rising from dirt roads. The particulate diffuses the sunlight and lends it a honey-tinged cast. By placing the sunlight in a backlit position for exteriors, the surrounding landscape always felt a bit distant, separate from the characters, isolating them. As the story progresses, more scenes occur during the night. Without the natural backlight to illuminate the dust, the image became a sharper and this is when the eventual resolution between characters progressed.

For day interiors, we used large tungsten arrays to mimic the Indian sunlight for day interiors. When contrasted with cool, fill from complimentary angles, the image took on a color-contrasty, nuanced quality. 

Shot on Arri Alexa Mini.  Directed by Irene Zoe Alameda.