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Laura Blum

Laura is a festival correspondent covering films and the festival circuit for She also publishes on Thalo



Cinematographer Ed Lachman Talks “Wonderstruck” -- Spotlight on the 55th New York Film Festival


Here’s a question for you: Can illustrated novels be made into compelling films? With his screen production of Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, director Todd Haynes suggests what it takes. One handy element is cinematographer Ed Lachman.

Using Kodak 35mm black-and-white and color film stocks, the cinematography shows off Lachman at his best. It’s at once rapturous and studied, classical and jazzy, stylized and raw. There’s a reason for the dualities. Two narratives hatch side by side 50 years apart, each with its own aesthetics. To replay the creative process, I nabbed Lachman for a chat at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, where the movie is set as Centerpiece of the 55th New York Film Festival.

But first to the story. In 1977, we meet 12-year-old Ben (Oakes Fegley) living with an aunt (Amy Hargreaves) in small-town Minnesota. His mother (Michelle Williams), who raised him solo, has recently died, intensifying Ben’s recurrent wolf nightmares. He experiences another life-changing loss when lightening strikes. Suddenly deaf, he ditches the hospital and boards a New York-bound bus to pursue a clue about his mysterious father (John Boyd).

Exit color, enter monochrome. Now it’s 1927 in Hoboken, New Jersey, where a deaf 12 year old named Rose (Millicent Simmonds) shares a manse with her stern, disapproving father (James Urbaniak). In the privacy of her bedroom, she scrapbooks fan clippings of a silent film and stage starlet (Julianne Moore) and makes little urbanscapes from newsprint. Manhattan beckons. Rose escapes across the Hudson to a theater where her absent mother--the starlet—scolds her and gives her the shaft. Full story here: