Turin Film Fest to Fete Wong Kar Wai Innovator Christopher Doyle

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Doha Film Institute
Christopher Doyle

The award-winning DP is credited with helping to create the iconic style of Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai.

Christopher Doyle will be feted with the Turin Film Festival’s lifetime achievement honor, the Gran Premio Torino, it was announced Friday. He has previously won festival awards for best cinematography in Venice, Cannes, Tallinn and Shanghai.

The Australian-born DP has a life worthy of a film, running away on a Norwegian merchant ship when he was 18, raising cattle in Israel, working as an oil driller in India and studying Chinese medicine in Thailand. Doyle was reborn as Duke Feng (“like the wind”), becoming a photographer in the 1970s in Taiwan, and then discovered cinematography in the ‘80s.

After debuting with Edward Yang’s That Day, on the Beach, Doyle became instrumental in creating the Wong Kar Wai style of rhythmic camera fluidity and vivid colors filmed spanning Hong Kong’s tight spaces. The two have had a legendary collaboration, working on eight movies together, setting the visual look of 2046, In the Mood for Love and Happy Together. Doyle also has worked with top Chinese and Taiwanese directors including Stanley Kwan, Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou.

Outside of the Asian film scene, the lenser has worked with Gus Van Sant (Psycho and Paranoid Park), Jim Jarmusch (The Limits of Control), Barry Levinson (Liberty Heights), Neil Jordan (Ondine), Philip Noyce (The Quiet American), M. Night Shyamalan (Lady in the Water) and Alejandro Jodorowsky (Poesia sin fin). He also has directed his own films, including the 2015 portrait of generations, Hong Kong Trilogy: Preschooled Preoccupied Preposterous, and a short for Paris, je t’aime.

Doyle will be awarded in a ceremony on Nov. 21 that will include screenings of the documentary Wind by Saw Tiong Guan and the feature film Port of Call by Philip Yung.

The Turin Film Festival is set to run Nov. 18-26 with a program of 158 feature films, 43 of them world premieres and 46 first or second features.