Filed in: Awards

Award Contender-Cesar Charlone, DP, Constant Gardner

December 5, 2005 12:00 | By

“When I was in film school, I read all the glossy film magazines and I dreamt that one day I would work on films like The Constant Gardener. To this day it still all seems like a dream,” says the film’s DP César Charlone. Charlone comes from a rich arts background: his father was a theater director who staged weekly theatrical works on television—an inspiration to Charlone from a young age. Most of his family is involved in entertainment.A cinematographer for over 20 years, Charlone has worked on numerous commercials, music videos, documentaries and feature films including several projects with his friend, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles. Their friendship and working relationship spans 15 years. “Fernando is very faithful; We have developed trust and comfort over the years to a point where I usually know what he wants,” says Charlone. The two received worldwide acclaim just a few years ago with the vibrant and gritty drama City of God, which perfectly captured the violent streets of a shantytown section of in Rio de Janeiro. For The Constant Gardener, the director and DP headed off around the world for an international shoot that included Berlin, London and Kenya.Based on the best-selling novel by John Le Carre, The Constant Gardener is a powerful thriller that delivers a socially relevant message about the exploitation of poor Africans at the hands of big pharmaceutical companies. Says Charlone, “I’m mainly interested in doing films with social issues. When you’re a DP and you put in six months on a film, you want to tell your kids you did something positive.”Charlone shot most of the film hand-held, leaving the actors to work more freely. It’s a way of working that comes naturally to him. The result on The Constant Gardener is an almost documentary feel to the work, and with most of the film unchoreographed, the DP was able to follow the action as it unfolded. Charlone gave the film’s lead, Ralph Fiennes, a lightweight camera to shoot his characters point of view shots to keep things spontaneous and organic.Pleased with the increased recognition he’s received in recent years for his work, Charlone has also been trying his hand at directing. But he insists his partnership with Meirelles gives him his greatest satisfaction. “We did a screening a few months ago and there were American politicians in the audience and I thought to myself, maybe I’ve done something useful.”

Written by Eric Green