American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 58

◗

City of Stars

Right, from left:
Caitlin (Sonoya
Mizuno), Tracy
(Callie
Hernandez), Mia
and Alexis
(Jessica Rothe)
enjoy a girls'
night out. Below:
Cast and crew
run through a
similar setup
during the day.

for the screen - where there's interplay
among music, image, story, character
and dance - was magical. La La Land
started with this idea of taking that style
of storytelling and applying it to a
modern setting."
Particularly inspiring were French
director Jacques Demy's 1960s-era The
Umbrellas of Cherbourg (shot by Jean
Rabier) and The Young Girls of Rochefort
(shot by Ghislain Cloquet). "Even
though they're completely heightened,
magical movies," Chazelle says, "they are
resolutely stories about ordinary people,
shot where they're set, and have this
quality of real life that seeps through the
artificiality of the genre."
58

January 2017

During 10 weeks of preproduction together, Chazelle and Sandgren
storyboarded and considered their
approach. "Damien didn't want the film
to feel like at first it's a realistic drama
and then suddenly the characters break
out into a magical dance number,"
Sandgren says.
Chazelle adds, "It should be like
one continuous piece of music that
flows from one state of being to another,
and hopefully so seamlessly that you
don't notice the gear shift. A lot of that
burden fell on Linus' shoulders, because
we decided early on that one of the key
unifying things would be the camera,
which needed a consistent personality,
American Cinematographer

whether it was a musical number, a realistic scene or in-between. The length of
takes, when the camera would move,
and the color palette would stay consistent."
Sandgren suggests that Chazelle
is more influenced by classic Hollywood
aesthetics than by any particular film,
guided by emotion in storytelling more
than convention. "Some filmmakers of
that time told their stories just the way
they felt was right to tell it, and Damien
has a lot of that," the cinematographer
says. "He follows his own taste when
deciding how to make a film. He might
tell the story in one way and then
suddenly take another turn. He doesn't
necessarily follow any rules."
Forty-two days of principal
photography began in August 2015 in
and around L.A. While they both now
call the city home, East Coast native
Chazelle
and
Stockholm-born
Sandgren bring an outsider's point of
view and found a shared aesthetic in
terms of how they wanted to portray the
iconic town.
"Damien wanted to show the
blue nights and twilights of Los Angeles
- maybe they're not always like that,
but you might remember them that way
- and those beautiful old gas-style
streetlights from some parts of the city,"



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - January 2017

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 7
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 9
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American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48a
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 48b
American Cinematographer - January 2017 - 49
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