Gráinne Galvin is a Dublin and Galway-based cinematographer. In 2019, she spent a year studying at FAMU, Prague, working with 16mm and 35mm formats and honing her skills in cinematography. She believes film should tell a story through visuals, bringing the emotions of the characters alive through imagery. Being from the Burren, her work has been influenced by her natural surroundings, informing her compositions and use of natural light. Through collaboration, she believes that film offers the possibility of creating a shared social vision. In her work, Grainne hopes to challenge our common understanding of how the world is and how it should be.
My main project in Cinematography was the film Thicker Than Water, a story about two sisters at odds with each other, coping with the complicated grief of their mother. The film is largely based on senses. My goal was to convey the emotions and experience/ re-experience of grief for the main character through imagery in accompaniment with sound design. With the imagery, I want to present a feeling within an image, a subtext suggested with an object, and a look that perfectly matches the narrative. I wanted each image, particularly the wides to feel like a live painting, with the textures and composition of both image and subject perfectly intermeshing together. Overall, the aim was to embed profound imagery into the film which better conveys the emotional momentum of the script.
In this dissertation, I discuss how Claire Denis takes theories on postcolonialism and embodies them in every aspect of her work, from camera movement to the characterisation of the subjects of colonialism. These films have played an important role in inviting us to challenge our perception of history through a visual critique of colonialism and white western thought. Where cinema historically empowers white culture, Denis’ in contrast, draws on post-colonial theory to generate a deep understanding of what the coloniser has inflicted upon the colonised. This paper seeks to situate the two films within the larger context of postcolonial theory in relation to French cinema. I examine Denis’ use of film techniques, identity, and racial expression and her elaborate construction of a sense of place in order to illustrate and visualise postcolonial ideas. In my work in the future, I hope to take concepts that have a deeper social or political meaning and embody them in my work in a way that feels truthful, informative, but also powerfully entertaining just as the early works of Claire Denis have done.