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 64)
Alma materNew York University
Years active1984–present

Darius Khondji, A.S.C. (Persian: داریوش خنجی‎; born 21 October 1955) is an Iranian-French cinematographer.[1] He is best known for his work on David Fincher's Seven (1995). Khondji has worked with a number of high-profile directors, including Fincher, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Wong Kar-wai, Michael Haneke, and Danny Boyle.

Early life[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.[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]

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.[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]


Khondj's work includes:[8]

Year Film 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
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 Nominated- American Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Cinematography
1996 Stealing Beauty Bernardo Bertolucci
Evita Alan Parker Nominated- Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- American Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated- BAFTA 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- Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
2012 Amour Michael Haneke Nominated- César Award for Best Cinematography
To Rome with Love Woody Allen
2013 The Immigrant James Gray
2014 Magic in the Moonlight Woody Allen
2015 Irrational Man
2016 The Lost City of Z James Gray
2017 Okja Bong Joon-ho
2019 Uncut Gems Safdie brothers
Shorts and music videos



  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.
  8. ^ Alex Ballinger (12 October 2004). New Cinematographers. Laurence King Publishing. pp. 2–. ISBN 978-1-85669-334-9.

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