May 18 at the 71st Festival de Cannes.
Ed Lachman, ASC received this year’s Pierre Angenieux ExcelLens Lifetime Achievement Award for Cinematographer at Cannes.
The evening unfolded promptly at 6pm on the red carpet leading to the Cannes festival hall, where security was tight, sunglasses were banned, and even selfies of the ritual stair climbing exercise were strictly discouraged.
Celebrants progressed to the rooftop aerie of the Mouton Cadet terrace overlooking Cannes Yacht Harbor for a magic hour of cocktails and conversation.
The 6th edition of the Angenieux Award presentation was held in the Salle Bunuel theater of the festival hall. Cannes Director Thierry Frémaux reminisced how he had first met Ed at Telluride and was a terrified passenger as Ed took him for a spin at high speed on a mountain road.
Raphaël Keller, Director of Innovation Video and Technical industries at the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée) and Severine Serrano, Managing Director of Angénieux International Sales & Marketing took the stage. Severine
Suzel Pietri, Director of Orbis-Media, described the origins of the Angenieux Award. She was flying home to France from a Singapore film festival. Her seat was defective. A gallant gentleman offered to swap seats with her. It was Dominique Rouchon, Deputy Managing Director of Angenieux International Sales & Communications. They talked about film for the next 14 hours. The ExcelLens Award was hatched on that flight.
Todd Haynes spoke eloquently about Ed. They had worked together on Far from Heaven, I’m Not There, Carol and Wonderstruck.
Emmanuel Sprauel, Vice-President of the Angénieux brand, gave a moving speech about having picked up a Beaulieu 8mm camera with Angenieux lens at age 9, and being enthralled by the power of moving images ever since. He said, “Be sure all people in Angenieux share the passion to help you bring your vision to life. We all are truly dedicated to make the best products for your eyes and hands.”
He then presented the 2018 Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens in Cinematography, an Optimo 28-76 zoom lens, to Ed.
Ed Lachman spoke: “ For me the challenge of cinematography is revealing or trying to evoke the poetic or psychological authenticity of the image in the story you are telling…Images aren’t only around pleasant pictorial aesthetics but also can be the projection of the emotions for the characters in the story. Images are about experiencing something with your camera, it is the immediacy of that experience inside yourself that you are able to translate, and you can share in a documentary or narrative form.”
Angénieux also honored a rising star young cinematographer this year for the first time. Chinese cinematographer Cecile Zhang graduated with a BA degree with honors from the Beijing Film Academy, and is currently completing her Masters Degree there. Her impressive showreel was screened. Severine Serrano said, “Cecile Zhang explores with dynamism each time new territories of creativity, carries with it all the energy of a new generation of cinematographers.”
The high point of the evening for many was a wonderful, moving, often funny series of videos about working with Ed: from directors, actresses, actors, artists and a photographer dangling outside Ed’s window in New York:
Christopher Doyle, Julianne Moore, Mark Wiener, John Malkovich, Volker Schlondorff, Peter Sellars, Ulrich Seidl, Michelle Williams, Werner Herzog, Willem Dafoe, Sofia Coppola, Greta Gerwig, Steven Soderbergh, Meryl Streep and Wim Wenders.
Werner Herzog (Pelicula o Muerte, Film or Death) talked the time they were filming La Soufrière on Guadeloupe and Ed asked what would happen if the volcano erupted. Herzog gleefully remembers telling Ed that they would all be airborne.
The finale was Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter writing an homage to Ed on a glass screen: “Dear Ed, With a camera you make music for the eyes. Thank you for sharing with us your vision and the unique light in your smiling eyes. Bravo.”
This article will be updated and expanded…