Darius Khondji

Darius Khondji
داریوش خنجی
Born (1955-10-21) 21 October 1955
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. He has worked with such well-known directors as Jean-Pierre Jeunet, David Fincher, Bernardo Bertolucci, Alan Parker, Roman Polanski, Sydney Pollack, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Wong Kar-wai, Danny Boyle and Michael Haneke.[1]

Early life

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. 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). 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."[2]


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 began shooting commercials and music videos.

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."[2] 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), To Rome with Love (2012) and Magic in the Moonlight (2014).

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.

Creative inspiration

Khondji cites Gregg Toland as his favorite cinematographer. "I particularly admire his work on John Ford's The Grapes of Wrath."[2] 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!"[2]

Personal life

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

Academy Award for Best Cinematography
BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
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. 1 2 "Darius Khondji". IMDb. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Darke, Chris (April 1996). "Inside the Light". Sight and Sound.

External links

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