“The picture starts . . . when the trailers are done? When the first shot is ‘in the can’? When something someone says connects an image to a thought that suggests a resolution of that theme that you never could quite find form for. . . . and you start to write, to imagine, to project? Pictures start all the time all day long in the way i live and work. They evolve in the making, they grow in unexpected intent, they come back thru the experience shared in the process and the after-process. Your words often restart the picture in a way i never knew.”
– Christopher Doyle, 2009
Legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle has worked on some of the most ravishing films ever made, including the Wong Kar Wai masterpieces In the Mood for Love and Happy Together, and has collaborated with many of the world’s leading directors: Phillip Noyce, Gus Van Sant, Stanley Kwan, Chen Kaige, Barry Levinson, James Ivory, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Zhang Yimou, Neil Jordan and Edward Yang. During this time, he has saved odd scraps – outtakes, camera tests, still photos, mistakes and plain goofs. These “unframed” elements have found their way into Doyle’s art practice, especially his celebrated collages. Picture Start sees a new direction for his work, using enhanced film transparencies from his career behind the camera matched with superimposed text from conventional film leader (words like “Start,” numbers, guidelines, etc.). The domination of printed film directives on top of Doyle’s exquisite (often previously unseen) images suggests a memorialization, like a personal seal or “chop” on his history of collaborations. It is fitting, then, that Picture Start – a world premiere here in Toronto – is dedicated to and inspired by Doyle’s long-time friend and Asian cinema champion Wouter Barendrecht.
The show will also feature a short video loop, expanding on and adding dimension to the collage work. —tiff.net
A hard-drinking Australian seems an unlikely figure to be one of the most important and influential cinematographers in Asian cinema, but that is exactly what Christopher Doyle is. His richly atmospheric, improvisational style has worked its way into the lexicon of both music videos and mainstream Hollywood fare. Moreover, his photo-collage artwork and his bizarre, often drunken public antics have made him a sort of cult celebrity in much of Asia.
Born in 1952 in Sydney, Doyle fled the banality of the suburbs to spend much of his early life on the road. At various points in his life he was a well digger in India, a Norwegian merchant marine, a cow herder on an Israeli kibbutz, and a doctor of Chinese medicine in Thailand. In the late ‘70s, Doyle was rechristened Du Kefeng by his professor at the University of Hong Kong, and his life has not been the same since. Soon afterward, he moved to Taiwan and fell in with the Taipei art crowd, including such future members of the cultural… read more