Cinematographer Jakob Ihre discusses Louder Than Bombs, collaborating with Joachim Trier, his aesthetic influences from Tarkovsky to Lichtenstein, and capturing performances. This is the fourth feature in our week-long (April 18–22) celebration of Louder Than Bombs, with a new feature each day.
Read our two-part interview with director Joachim Trier starting here. Read our review of the film here. Read our essay on exile in Oslo, August 31st and Louder Than Bombs here.
The first image in Joachim Trier’s new film Louder than Bombs is of a baby’s hand clasped around her father’s finger, softly lit. It’s one of a panoply of stunning images shot by Swedish cinematographer Jakob Ihre on 35mm, which are so essential to the film’s appeal. In addition to collaborating with Trier on Reprise and Oslo, August 31st, Ihre has worked in the U.S., on Lola Versus and The End of the Tour, and elsewhere in Scandinavia on films like Trust Me and A Family. Because of his background in documentaries and live TV, “where you really have to find the shots”, Ihre operates the camera himself. “That’s really the key to my lighting. It goes hand in hand. I light with my framing, as well. You find the light in your framing.”
For his work on Louder Than Bombs, Ihre won the Norwegian KANON Award last month. He has a knack for creating beautiful images and intimately capturing great performances. Because he operates the camera himself, “I am on set, and I’m very close to the actors, especially in the way Joachim likes to shoot — to be very close to the actors. It’s very physical. My responsibility is the lighting and the framing. But my responsibility is also to be part of the film and to be a co-storyteller. The projects that we choose are very personal. We have friends or ourselves who have experienced similar situations. We put many years into this. Hopefully, the actors, by chance, they feel that, I think, especially on Louder Than Bombs”.
Ihre and Trier have been collaborating for over fifteen years, first on short films and then on all of Trier’s features. “He’s very unique, Joachim”, said Ihre. “He’s very talented with a very clear vision. He’s very knowledgable and very hands on. He is the textbook definition of a film director: he directs everyone – not only the actors but all the department heads. But he still remains a wonderful team player and collaborator who makes everyone feel like it’s their film, too. I find that the crews on his sets really, really care about the film! The films become very personal, not only because of the scripts, but also because of the making of it. Everyone is really putting so much into them because we really feel we are part of the making of the film”.
Read our review of the film here.