Despite having only two feature credits to her name as cinematographer since the turn of the millennium, few DPs alive today can claim the level of influence as Babette Mangolte. Born and educated in France, Mangolte moved to New York City in the 1970s, where she began a career as both cinematographer and director. That career would quickly help define both American and European cinema style in the decade, with all the lasting impact that infers; specifically, working with vital female artists of the era such as Yvonne Rainer and Chantal Akerman, Mangolte has contributed arguably as much as any fellow artist to the visual language of feminist and/or female-driven cinema.
Now a professor at UC San Diego, Mangolte has worked only occasionally in filmmaking since the mid-1980s. Nevertheless, her crisp, vivid cinematography on features as memorable as Jeanne Dielman and The Gold Diggers has ensured her legacy as one of the great DPs of her time. Female cinematographers are notoriously few in the industry, and still less well-known. It's perhaps a mark of Mangolte's credibility as an artist that she hasn't cultivated the level of familiarity that was so readily afforded to her male peers in 1970s art cinema, but there's no doubt that she deserves it. Discussions about iconic cinematographers ought to start with Babette, and end with Mangolte!
Hotel Monterey, 1973
Film About a Woman Who..., 1974
Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, 1975
Kristina Talking Pictures, 1976
News from Home, 1977
Strong Medicine, 1981
The Gold Diggers, 1983