This year Agnès Godard will receive the Pierre Angénieux Tribute surrounded by her artistic delegation at the Cannes Film Festival. Ahead of the prestigious evening, this extraordinarily talented director of photography shares her passion for cinema lenses and particular love story with Angénieux
Angénieux - Agnès Godard, AFC
I have a special bond with Angénieux, we all have our “very first time”, a significant encounter special to us. Mine was with an Angénieux 12-120 zoom on an Eclair 16 NPR. I was in film school at IDHEC and it was the first image I'd ever captured on ground glass with an optic! You may have no idea how a lens is made, but you quickly realise it's one of the essential ingredients of cinematography, the centrepiece of your rapport with the director, the keynote of the visual arrangement.
Optimo zooms are certainly part of my love story with the beauty of images. They have been used in countless movies since the 2000s and have really shaped my eye as a director of photography. They have given me a richer perspective on the whole process. Aperture, contrast, colour rendering, definition, no ramping, no distortion —all these qualities come together in the Optimo series in a totally unique way.
To my opinion, one of Angénieux's strengths is its capacity to fit to all genres and needs. I've always managed to find the right zoom or zooms, from the 15-40 to the 24-290. Sometimes, but not always, I've matched them with fixed-focus lenses.The zooms are so easy to operate because Angénieux has gone the extra mile to really understand users and how they work. Collaboration is the cornerstone of the industry, and this is where it all begins!
I just finished shooting Ursula Meier's La Ligne with two Angénieux EZ Full Frame zooms, a 22-60 and a 45-135, paired with a Sony Venice. With a teleconverter, we could add all the long focal lengths we wanted to. Every day I was impressed by the elegant bokeh rendering and the tactile feel to the skin textures.
It isn't hard to equate Angénieux with creativity, and the brand has a consistent record of innovation. The new Optimo Prime collection is living proof of that. For me, the name Angénieux will always rhyme with "ingenious" — or just plain "genius"!
It is an immense honour for me to receive the Angénieux award in Cannes this year.
Agnès Godard, AFC