Darius Khondji

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Darius Khondji
داریوش خنجی
Darius Khondji 2017.jpg
Khondji in 2017.
Born (1955-10-21) 21 October 1955 (age 62)
Tehran, Iran
Nationality Iranian-French
Alma mater New York University
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1984–present

Darius Khondji, A.S.C. (Persian: داریوش خنجی‎; born 21 October 1955) is an Iranian-French cinematographer.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Tehran, Iran, to an Iranian father and a French mother. At an early age, his family relocated in France. He became interested in film early on and made Super-8 films in his teens.[2] Later in life, he moved to the United States to study at UCLA and then majored in film from New York University and the International Center for Photography. During this period two teachers influenced his decision to become a cinematographer: Jonas Mekas and Haig Manoogian (Martin Scorsese's film teacher).[2] He realized that "all I wanted to do was shoot the other students' films. I was concerned with the power of the image and much less with story."[3]


After his time in the United States, Khondji returned to France in 1981 and worked as an assistant for cinematographers like Bruno Nuytten, Martin Schafer and Pascal Marti. He also worked as a lighting director on music videos and commercials.[2]

His second feature film was Le tresor des Iles Chiennes (1991), a low budget, black and white, post-atomic adventure film. His work on this movie was significant enough to warrant the Cahiers du cinéma to publish one of its rare interviews with a cinematographer. It was on this film that he demonstrated an affinity for Cinemascope. He remarked in an interview, "I think it's the most beautiful format to frame. One can become absorbed in the faces when they're framed in 'Scope."[3] His subsequent work on Delicatessen established his international reputation and earned him a Cesar nomination for Best Cinematography. One of his highest profile films was Seven which he got based on a Nike ad he shot with David Fincher and his work on Delicatessen. His work on Evita was nominated for an Oscar for the Best Cinematography.

Darius worked on three European-shot films by Woody Allen: Midnight in Paris (2011),[4] To Rome with Love (2012)[5] and Magic in the Moonlight (2014).[6]

Most recently, Khondji shot the Palme D'or-winning film Amour, which also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for Best Picture.[7]

Creative inspiration[edit]

Khondji cites Gregg Toland as his favorite cinematographer. "I particularly admire his work on John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath."[3] He also greatly admires James Wong Howe's work, in particular Hud. Khondji has said that his dream project would be "a 16mm black and white film of On the Road!"[3]

Personal life[edit]

Khondji is married to Marianne Chemetov, a daughter of the French architect Paul Chemetov and has three children: Marie-Louise, Josephine, and Alexandre.[1]


Feature films
Shorts and music videos

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy Award for Best Cinematography
  • 1996: Evita (Nominated)
BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
  • 1996: Evita (Nominated)
César Award for Best Cinematography
Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography

American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases



  1. ^ a b "Darius Khondji". IMDb. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Sciolino, Elaine (2012-07-13). "The Cinematography of Darius Khondji". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d Darke, Chris (April 1996). "Inside the Light". Sight and Sound. 
  4. ^ "Contender – Director of Photography Darius Khondji, Midnight in Paris - Below the Line". Below the Line. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  5. ^ "Cinematographer Darius Khondji on Woody Allen's To Rome with Love - Studio Daily". www.studiodaily.com. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  6. ^ "Cinematographer Darius Khondji, AFC, ASC, discusses his work on "Magic in the Moonlight", a film by Woody Allen". www.afcinema.com (in French). Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  7. ^ "Darius Khondji AFC / Amour - British Cinematographer". British Cinematographer. 2015-05-22. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 

External links[edit]