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 65)
Alma materUC Los Angeles
New York University
International Center for Photography
Years active1984–present

Darius Khondji AFC, ASC (Persian: داریوش خنجی‎; born 21 October 1955) is an Iranian-French cinematographer.[1][2] Khondji has worked with a number of high-profile directors, including David Fincher, Woody Allen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Roman Polanski, Wong Kar-wai, Michael Haneke, Danny Boyle, Philippe Parreno, Bong Joon-ho, Nicolas Winding Refn, Paul Thomas Anderson and the Safdie brothers. He was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for Evita, and has been nominated for three César Awards.

Early life and education[edit]

Khondji 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.[3] 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 of Photography. During this period, two teachers influenced his decision to become a cinematographer: Jonas Mekas and Haig Manoogian (Martin Scorsese's film teacher).[3] 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."[4]


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.[3]

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."[4] 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),[5] To Rome with Love (2012)[6] and Magic in the Moonlight (2014).[7]

In 2012, 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.[8]

Creative inspiration[edit]

Khondji cites Gregg Toland as his favorite cinematographer. "I particularly admire his work on John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath."[4] 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!"[4]

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]



Year Title Director Notes
1989 Embrasse-moi Michèle Rosier
1990 Le trésor des îles chiennes F.J. Ossang
1991 Delicatessen Marc Caro
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Nominated- César Award for Best Cinematography
1992 Prague Ian Sellar
1993 Shadow of a Doubt Aline Issermann
1994 Parano Manuel Flèche Segment: "Sado et Maso vont en bâteau"
1995 The City of Lost Children Marc Caro
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Nominated- César Award for Best Cinematography
Marie-Louise ou la permission Manuel Flèche
Se7en David Fincher Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- ASC Award for Outstanding Cinematography in a Feature Film
Nominated- BSC Award for Best Cinematography in a Feature Film
Nominated- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
1996 Stealing Beauty Bernardo Bertolucci Globo d'oro for Best Cinematography
Nominated- Camerimage Golden Frog
Nominated- David di Donatello for Best Cinematography
Evita Alan Parker Nominated- Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- ASC Award for Outstanding Cinematography in a Feature Film
Nominated- BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- BSC Award for Best Cinematography in a Feature Film
Nominaed- Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
1997 Alien: Resurrection Jean-Pierre Jeunet
1999 In Dreams Neil Jordan
The Ninth Gate Roman Polanski
2000 The Beach Danny Boyle
2002 Panic Room David Fincher Co-cinematographer with Conrad W. Hall
2003 Anything Else Woody Allen
2004 Wimbledon Richard Loncraine
2005 The Interpreter Sydney Pollack
2006 Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait Douglas Gordon
Philippe Parreno
2007 My Blueberry Nights Wong Kar-wai
Funny Games Michael Haneke
2008 The Ruins Carter Smith
2009 Chéri Stephen Frears
2011 Midnight in Paris Woody Allen Nominated- BSC Award for Best Cinematography in a Feature Film
Nominated- Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
2012 Amour Michael Haneke Nominated- César Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- European Film Award for Best Cinematographer
To Rome with Love Woody Allen
2013 The Immigrant James Gray New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cinematographer
Nominated- ASC Spotlight Award
Nominated- Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography
2014 Magic in the Moonlight Woody Allen Nominated- Lumières Award for Best Cinematography
2015 Irrational Man
2016 The Lost City of Z James Gray Nominated- San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- London Film Critics' Circle Award for Technical Achievement of the Year
2017 Okja Bong Joon-ho
2019 Uncut Gems Josh Safdie
Benny Safdie

Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Notes
1984 Courtes chasses Manuel Flèche
1985 Classique Christian Vincent
1986 Sur les talus Laurence Ferreira Barbosa
1988 Une femme pour l'hiver Manuel Flèche
K.O.K. Régine Chopinot
1991 Models: The Film Peter Lindbergh
Le trou de la corneille François Hanss
2002 Tooba Shirin Neshat
2003 Ich kann dir die Welt nicht zu Füssen legen Ralf Schmerberg
Engine Chris Cunningham
2008 Protect You + Me. Brady Corbet
2010 Invisible Boy Philippe Parreno
2011 dior j'adore Jean-Jacques Annaud
C.H.Z Philippe Parreno
2013 Castello Cavalcanti Wes Anderson
Illusions & Mirrors Shirin Neshat
2016 Anywhen Philippe Parreno
Anywhen in a Timecolored palce
2018 Why Can't We Get Along Aaron Duffy
Benjamin Millepied
Bob Partington
2019 ANIMA Paul Thomas Anderson


Year Title Director Notes
1988 Méliès 1988 Aline Issermann Episode: "Bénie soit celle par qui le scandale arrive"
2015 The Devil You Know Gus Van Sant Failed pilot
2019 Too Old to Die Young Nicolas Winding Refn Miniseries; 7 episodes
TBA Lisey's Story Pablo Larraín Miniseries

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Notes
1993 "Fever" Madonna
1996 "You Must Love Me"
"Don't Cry for Me Argentina"
1998 "Frozen"
1999 "Afrika Shox" Leftfield
2000 "Dirge" Death in Vegas
2001 "Boiler" Limp Bizkit
2008 "Miles Away" Madonna
2010 Sticky & Sweet Tour
2011 "Marry the Night" Lady Gaga
2014 "Everything" Neneh Cherry
2018 "The Icon Project" Eminem
2019 "Marcy Me" Jay-Z



  1. ^ a b "Darius Khondji". IMDb. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  2. ^ Alex Ballinger (12 October 2004). New Cinematographers. Laurence King Publishing. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-1-85669-334-9.
  3. ^ a b c Sciolino, Elaine (2012-07-13). "The Cinematography of Darius Khondji". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  4. ^ a b c d Darke, Chris (April 1996). "Inside the Light". Sight and Sound.
  5. ^ "Contender – Director of Photography Darius Khondji, Midnight in Paris - Below the Line". Below the Line. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  6. ^ "Cinematographer Darius Khondji on Woody Allen's To Rome with Love - Studio Daily". www.studiodaily.com. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "Darius Khondji AFC / Amour - British Cinematographer". British Cinematographer. 2015-05-22. Retrieved 2017-03-03.

External links[edit]