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Lucie Baudinaud, AFC discusses Bis Repetita

Crafting a Comedy of Errors: The cinematographer credits her longstanding relationship with director Émilie Noblet for the look of the French-language comedy.

An apathetic Latin teacher makes a misguided deal with her students, resulting in her ill-prepared class entering a prestigious competition in Naples. This is the story of Bis Repetita, the feature-length comedy directed and co-written by Émilie Noblet. A cinematographer herself, Noblet partnered with director of photography Lucie Baudinaud, AFC to develop a well-versed visual language for the film. Working with Panavision Paris, the duo selected Primo Anamorphic lenses as their primary optics to capture the unconventional travel comedy, pairing the lenses with a Panavised Alexa Mini LF. Here, Baudinaud recounts the inspirations that guided this latest collaboration.

Lucie Baudinaud, AFC on the set of Bis Repetita

Panavision: How did you get involved in the project?

Lucie Baudinaud, AFC: I have known Emilie since our student years at Fémis. I have since accompanied her on all her projects; we have filmed several series together, including The 7 Lives of Léa, filmed in the south of France with Panavision as the camera-service provider.

How would you describe the look of the Bis Repetita?

Baudinaud: We generally sought to use bold, saturated colors in all places: in the sets, the costumes and also the lighting. Neutral light sources are rare. On the French side, the streets are lit by blue-green mercury sources, the chosen high school is very colorful, and all the extras received a color chart, depending on the settings in which they would appear, so that they could match their outfits to the colors of the sequences.

In Naples, the streets are all lit with sodium, and the sources are sometimes tinted with three Full CTO to make them almost red, almost leaving the more consensual orange. The settings are warmer, in natural contrast with the winter part which opens the film in France.

From a cutting point of view, we shot with close-focus Primo Anamorphic lenses, which bring great dynamics to the shots. We had lots of dolly, movements that stylize comedy whenever the story allows it. The idea was to borrow from the visual grammar of American comedy while remaining faithful to the auteur comedy to which we are very attached.

Frame grab from the movie Bis Repetita

Were there any particular visual references that inspired you?

Baudinaud: There are always many, from varied backgrounds. For light and colors, I do a lot of research on sites like ShotDeck, which brings a very wide variety. For cutting research, there was Bridget Jones, Ocean's Eleven, Les beaux Gosses or even The Spanish Apartment. When I start preparing a film, I rewatch everything to which we refer in our first exchanges, and I note the shots which give me ideas for certain sequences. Using editing software, I collect these shots in extracts, which I show to Émilie, and if this inspires a specific desire, we classify it by sequence so that the idea of the shot is clear to everyone.

This was the case of the shot on the van when they return from Pompeii, which was inspired by Ocean's Eleven; of the circular top shot when she leaves the villa, inspired by Bridget Jones; of the different road-movie shots, inspired by Little Miss Sunshine; of the movements in the high school, inspired by A Serious Man ...

Frame grab from the movie Bis Repetita

What brought you to Panavision for this project?

Baudinaud: Panavision is always one of the service providers I call upon when prepping a film. Guillaume Demaret [at Panavision Paris] has been with me since my diploma film at Fémis, in 2013. On this project, Émilie and I wanted to shoot with Primo Anamorphic close-focus lenses, so the collaboration was in this direction.

What specifically attracted you to the close-focus Primo Anamorphics?

Baudinaud: The close focus of these Primos is a rare optical quality in anamorphic, and it’s important in what it allows in staging. Also, the aberrations are quite subtle, and the faces are rendered very faithfully. The quality of the anamorphic bokeh is also very beautiful and brings an aesthetic to each shot.

Frame grab from the movie Bis Repetita

What inspired you to become a cinematographer and what inspires you today?

Baudinaud: I remember always wanting to do this job, even at a time when I didn't know what it really was! I was first attracted by the frame, because it was ultimately what was within my reach the earliest: my grandfather's camera. It was at the beginning of my studies that I became aware of the work of light and, little by little, its emotional power.

Today I feel sensitive to many things in my environment. I have the feeling that my brain imprints many luminous events in my daily life to reinject them into ideas through films.

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