Introducing Amine Berrada, a cinematographer who has just joined the AFC

By Pierre Aïm, AFC, and Agnès Godard, AFC

par Pierre Aïm, Agnès Godard Contre-Champ AFC n°345

[ English ] [ français ]

After joining the AFC just a short while ago, cinematographer Amine Berrada is introduced in this article by his sponsors Pierre Aïm and Agnès Godard, both members of the association, in the words they used to introduce him to their peers who voted on his application for membership.

Amine Berrada, a talented cinematographer, by Pierre Aïm, AFC
Amine Berrada was introduced to me by my agent, Yahn Jeannot, who also happens to be his. I wish to sponsor him for membership after having had several conversations with him during which I was quickly drawn in by his passion for cinema and cinematography. He would be an excellent addition to the AFC.
Since graduating from La Fémis in 2013, he worked on over forty short films before embarking on the adventure of shooting a feature.
 After Le Miracle du Saint Inconnu and Le Monde après nous, he shot the short story Snow in September which won many prizes in Berlin and Toronto.
His two latest feature films will be screened at Cannes this year : Banel & Adama and Les Meutes.
Amine is a very talented cinematographer. I am happy to sponsor him for membership in our association.

The solidity of Amine Berrada’s work, by Agnès Godard, AFC
This winter, I received an e-mail from Amine which reminded me that we had met in Berlin about 9 years prior when I had given a talk during the Berlinale Talents Campus.
I was embarrassed because although I remembered the trip to Berlin, everything else was a bit foggy. He asked me if we could meet in Paris.
The day of our meeting, the fog cleared. We had been to a café in Berlin together after my talk at the grand cinema of the Berlinale. In my defense, he didn’t look quite the same anymore ! We stayed a long while in that café, and our conversation flowed easily and was very rich.
I learnt that Amine had graduated from La Fémis several years ago, that he had since worked on five feature films, and the last two had good chances to be presented at Cannes this year.
Amine is very well-spoken, friendly and sharp.
I learnt that his last films were the product of a collaboration with former classmates from La Fémis. It was rather pleasant to imagine the relationships, how you engage with other beginners, how the alchemy of a professional companionship gets going.
But it was also the source of questions concerning the future. How does one choose films ? Does one sometimes have doubts or the feeling one has made a mistake ? In that case, how does one react ? In short, how to fill, nourish and fulfill as best as possible our passion for accompanying directors so that their films will be as close to their vision as possible, how to believe in it and shape its images ?
I found there was so much maturity in those questions that I wanted to know more. The two latest films were presented at Cannes. One of them, Banel & Adama was the only first film in competition and Les Meutes was in Un Certain Regard. I didn’t feel disoriented when I saw them because I felt Amine’s familiar presence throughout both films. They are very different from one another.
Banel & Adama has the audacity of the register of a tale in which everything is constructed and orchestrated. The choice of colors, of editing, of framing, transport the viewer to the African country of Senegal with an enlightened distance that slowly but surely brings us closer to its culture and mode of living. Some scenes reminded me of the magnificent coming-of-age novel by Senegalese author Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, La Plus secrète mémoire des hommes.
There had to be persistence in order to adapt and combat the conditions on the ground as anyone who has shot in such countries knows. There had to be a close collaboration with the director.
Les Meutes, on the contrary, is a nighttime voyage with an increasingly poignant, real intensity. The work was shot with a shoulder camera, and the cinematography is totally devoted to the non-professional actors of this film with their magnificent and wounded faces.
The night in Casablanca and its surrounding areas is coppery and opaque, the shadows cold and distant. The character’s journey continues on endlessly, and repeats itself before moving forward, punctuated by the camera shots that never leave them out of sight. We are always on the edge of the cliff, of vanishing into darkness. Finally, day breaks but doesn’t provide freedom from this mortal danger.
The very strong visual signature on these two films is the successful outcome of a well-thought-out and mature approach to cinematography.
The solidity of this work drew me in. I am very happy to be his sponsor. He is ready, quite ready to join the AFC.