We talk to highly experienced Woodwind cinematographer Nicolas Joray about the film he shot in India and South Africa, as well as key experiences in Russia and Europe.
Q: Having worked for four decades in cinematography, what was your highlight in the past?
NICOLAS JORAY: A special highlight for me was to work together with Francesco Rosi. During my first years working on set I was fascinated and influenced by Italian Neorealism. Especially Rosi’s political movies like “Uomini contro”/ “Many wars to go” or “Le Mani sulla città” touched me very much. To be a camera operator on one of his movies and also to work together with his DoP, Pasqualino de Santis (“Death in Venice”) was an honour and a great experience but not always easy.
Q: It is written that you’ve filmed in difficult conditions such as Chernobyl. Tell us about how you achieved this and how you managed?
Nicolas Joray: Keep cool, be patient and do not think too much about the possible problems and dangers. There’s gunfire and all these very desperate war refugees from Nagorno Karabakh. Even more so, the idyllic apocalypse after the nuclear disaster in the white and innocent winter landscape of Bielo Russia with all this children signed by the incoming death, it was relative to me (in dealing with it) and even now with our daily problems (in the current political climate).
Q: What can you tell us about the different approaches to cinematography you’ve used between the distinct locations in Woodwind from the west to India?
Nicolas Joray: The different approaches were influenced by the rhythm of the script and the development of the roles. The colour changes after Bonifaz leaves (the west), his more neutral toned and unsatisfied life. In Varanasi he nearly got lost in his own egocentric world, followed by a shadowy world which creates a contrast to the vivid and colourful ambience of India.
Q: What did you enjoy the most about the cinematography on Woodwind?
Nicolas Joray: It was a big pleasure for me to watch the performances of actresses, Andrea Furrer and Jasmin Jandreau. Reading the script I was very curious how Leandro Taub will interpret Bonifaz. It was really a great pleasure to follow these developments of the character with the camera and to create an optical surrounding for Taub’s performance.