Emerald Fennell-Directed ‘Saltburn’ Conjured Images of Dark, Bloody Comedy, Says Cinematographer Linus Sandgren at Camerimage
19.11.2023 - 14:01
Will Tizard Contributor Cinematographer Linus Sandgren says he and director Emerald Fennell relied on their emotions and instincts to conjure the “gothic” look of “Saltburn,” the hybrid psychological horror and dark comedy just screened at the Camerimage cinematography festival in Torun, Poland. The film’s tight Academy aspect ratio, for one thing, was an idea that arose only after meeting with Fennell, who wrote the over-the-top story of a strange, middle-class Oxford student, Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), infiltrating the world of the filthy rich one sunny summer.
Meanwhile, the shooting location, a properly gloomy and stodgy estate, seemed to call out for the boxy cinematic frame they chose, says Sandgren, who spoke at Camerimage’s main screening hall. The mansion’s beveled ceilings, arches, ancient walls and blood-red floors indeed seem to close in on all sides as the family of Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi) reluctantly admits the novel interloper into their midst.
Fennell’s sophomore feature after 2020’s “Promising Young Woman,” also stars Carey Mulligan, this time as an eccentric house guest the family has become bored with, building on strong performances by Rosamund Pike and Richard Grant as Catton’s parents, who seem equally charmed and uneasy about their son’s new best friend, Quick. “Saltburn” has been building buzz since its premiere this year at Telluride, where Fennell’s reputation for over-the-top storytelling was advanced.
“Saltburn” producer Margot Robbie, who knew Sandgren for his camerawork on 2022’s “Babylon,” urged him to meet with Fennell, the cinematographer recalls. The meeting was fortuitous.
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