DP Arseni Khachaturan captures the blood-stained romance of Luca…
Production on Bones and All took place at multiple locations across several different US states, including Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Nebraska, between May and July 2021. Khachaturan had nine weeks of prep prior to the shoot, which included a lot of time spent on the road with Guadagnino and production designer Elliott Hostetter.
“I did a lot of the driving during our location scouts, many thousands of miles across state lines,” Khachaturan remembers. “I have been living in the US for over ten years now, and many of the places we visited have definitely not been seen or represented in films, photography or art in general. So it was very interesting for us to explore and absorb the changing nature and colors of the landscapes and to see how we could reflect those in the film.”
Aged 28 when he shot Bones and All, one might have expected Khachaturan to be an exemplar of all-things-digital, but he reveals a remarkable knowledge and experience of shooting on celluloid.
“Although I do shoot digital projects, most of the features I’ve shot so far have actually been on film, which is perhaps a little strange because nobody ever taught me directly how to do that,” he says.
“I moved to the States when I was 18. Rufus Burnham, at the Camera Division in Burbank, encouraged me to build and play around with the film cameras and lenses there, and I pretty much taught myself how to shoot tests, process the results and learn how to expose film negative correctly.
“I started to pick up fashion projects, music videos and commercials, shooting on 16mm, and then moved to New York, where I struck up a great relationship with Panavision, and started shooting shorts on film.
“I then went on to shoot Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) (2020 dirs. Arie and Chuko Esiri) in Nigeria on 16mm, followed by Beginning on 35mm. After Bones and All, I worked on The Idol series on 35mm for Sam Levinson, where we got through millions of feet of film stock.
“It made me very happy when Luca told me he wanted to shoot Bones and All on film, as it is such a unique and special medium. I think that, in relation to the tangible sensations in the narrative – the period setting and wardrobe, the romanticism of the love story, the faces and American landscapes, the physical acts of cannibalism, the vibrancy of being young, alive and present in-the-moment – film was the perfect choice. The result just would not have been the same if it had been shot digitally.”
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