Thursday, December 20, 2007
Shooting Kinski #14 (Juan Ruiz Anchia)
Nastassja Kinski was perhaps never more beautiful in a film than she was in MARIA'S LOVERS, so it is fitting that it would turn out to be one of the best photographed works she ever appeared. Shot by Spanish born cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchia, MARIA'S LOVERS is a remarkable looking and lit film that is among the most beautiful of the mid eighties.
Award winning photographer Anchia was born in Spain's Basque Province in the late part of 1949. He became interested in films early in his life and began working towards his dreams in Franco controlled Spain as a teenager. Work started coming steadily as a cinematographer in the early seventies on some shorts and documentaries, and he worked steadily throughout the decade before finally scoring a major film entitled REBORN in 1981. The film was an early work of the great Spanish director Bigas Luna, and it would help secure Anchia as one of the most interesting young Spanish D.P.s of the early eighties.
Anchia would continue working in Spain for the few years following his work with Luna, including shooting the film VALENTINA (1982), before landing his first English language gig with director Frank Darabont on the short film THE WOMAN IN THE ROOM (1983). The picture would turn up on the STEPHEN KING NIGHT SHIFT collection and would garner some attention for Anchia and his director.
Following on the heals of THE WOMAN IN THE ROOM was the award winning television production MISS LONLEYHEARTS starring Eric Roberts. This PBS remake would garner much acclaim and it would even win an award at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Several more films would follow, including 1919 (1983) and THE STONE BOY (1984) before Anchia would be chosen by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky for 1984's MARIA'S LOVERS.
The war time drama MARIA'S LOVERS is a profoundly beautiful film, and Anchia's photography captures the period of the late forties in American perfectly. Everything from the film's elegant outdoor shooting to the way he photographs Kinski is quite breathtaking. There is also a real bitter sweetness to his photography in this film, as if he is capturing a dream that will quickly fade.
Unfortunately Anchia's great work on MARIA'S LOVERS would not garner him the attention he deserved but it did lead him to another one of his great films, 1986's AT CLOSE RANGE, directed by James Foley. Since then Anchia has worked on many Spanish, British and American productions. He would work with Foley again on the great 1992 Mamet adaptation GLENGRY GLEN ROSS and he has also worked with award winning director Mike Figgis on several occasions. He has continued to work with both Foley and Mamet on films like 2003's CONFIDENCE and 2004's SPARTAN, and he recently just completed work on an upcoming Charlize Theron film entitled SLEEPWALKING, which is due for release in 2008.
While perhaps not a well known name, Juan Ruiz Anchia has had a very successful career as a cinematographer and has worked steadily now for almost forty years in the industry. His work on MARIA'S LOVERS is inspiring, as is the best of his later work with directors like David Mamet, Mike Figgis and James Foley. MARIA'S LOVERS would unfortunately be the only time Anchia would get to photograph Nastassja Kinski but it would prove an unforgettable one.
For a great acrticle centering on Anchia and David Foley please click on this link.
For an interview with the great photographer, please visit this link.