I first became aware of the work of cinematographer Claire Mathon in 2013, watching Stranger by the Lake at the London Film Festival. The French arthouse hit received a lot of good press for a lot of good reasons, but it was Mathon's clear, sparkly, gently menacing lensing that was the best reason of all for me. Six years later, those who hadn't yet caught onto her artistic excellence certainly caught on now, as 2019 delivered a double-whammy of Mathon mastery in Atlantics and Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Both were among the finest films of the year, both were not only shot but directed by women, and both showcased some of the most stunning cinematic imagery of recent years. Mathon won all three top American critics awards for her exceptional work in 2019, but was snubbed by Oscar. She would have been only its second female nominee for Best Cinematography to date.
Mathon has built her reputation as one of France's most talented and most under-appreciated cinematographers over a career now approaching 20 years. Her home country's industry awards have been rather kinder to her - she's the current reigning for la Meilleure Photographie at the Cesar Awards for Portrait. A versatile artist with as much flair for vibrant colour and dynamic action as for dusky vistas and interior dialogue scenes, she's a Jack-of-all-trades (or should that be a Jacqueline?) and a mistress of all too! Do enjoy today's montage - if I may say so myself (since I made the montage), it's among my best work!
Going South, 2009
Stranger by the Lake, 2013
My King, 2015
Staying Vertical, 2016
Portrait of a Lady on Fire, 2019