Written and directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach, and beautifully shot on 35mm film by director of photography Robbie Ryan, Marriage Story arrived on Netflix last week to general acclaim. The awards season favorite, a sensitive and sharp-witted bi-coastal narrative, is an incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together.
Writing for Deadline, Matt Grobar spoke with Ryan about the “privileged space” he occupied while shooting Marriage Story, as well as his visual approach to the film:
“Reteaming with Noah Baumbach on Marriage Story, following 2017’s The Meyerowitz Stories, cinematographer Robbie Ryan aimed to craft an aesthetic that was as simple and unfussy as possible. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver, Baumbach’s latest centers on Nicole and Charlie, a couple going through a bicoastal divorce who strive to keep their family together, even as their marriage comes apart at the seams.
“Shooting nearly a million feet of film while in production on the pic, Ryan found himself to be in a ‘privileged space’ on set he says, while witnessing the actors’ performances. Serving as his own camera operator, the DP was hit in the gut, as he took in the most intimate and violently emotional moments of Charlie and Nicole’s uncoupling. ‘If I was a DP who didn’t operate camera, I’d be having a cup of tea in the room, with Noah watching the telly, and to me, that is so far removed from why I signed up,’ says Ryan, who received his first Oscar nomination last season for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite. “Being in front of an actor’s face is one of the best perks of my job.’”
Ryan also discusses his approach for lighting and developing a color palette, as well as what it was like filming the movie’s intense fight scene. Head over to Deadline to read the full interview, and watch Ryan discuss “How to Shoot the Start of a Relationship’s End in ‘Marriage Story’” in the New York Times video series, “Anatomy of a Scene,” in the player below: