Death In Bloom is a dark comedy about door-to-door ‘Death’ salesman Christopher Crumples, and his struggle to close a routine expiration deal with the wealthy, refined and fabulously difficult, Mrs Patterson. Death In Bloom stars highly acclaimed and enigmatic screen and stage actors Robyn Nevin as Patterson and Ewen Leslie as Crumples.
Death in Bloom was filmed over the course of four days in Sydney, Australia, using two locations and Hawk V series anamorphic lenses on an Arri Alexa digital camera. Director Dael Oates is also a photographer, so his partnership with Cinematographer Peter Eastgate created a powerful pairing of visual filmmakers, working together closely in designing frames for the super-wide aspect ratios created by the anamorphic lenses. The collaborative partnership has spanned many projects including Oates’ previous short Maintenance (2014), so in many ways this film was just a new chapter in their journey.
Both Oates and Eastage knew they wanted to push the photography and capture a cinematic world, but also wanted that world to feel restrained and slightly off. After many tests, anamorphic lenses turned out to be the way to go. The lighting needed to feel naturalistic with a definite aesthetic element.
Eastgate loves to use single large sources to illuminate a scene, creating areas of light and shadow. On this film he wanted to offer the actors a visual space that complemented their characters; places for them to shine and places for them to hide.
For Eastgate, filmmaking is a wonderful collaborative process, always arriving with
a plan but endeavouring to work with technicians who have a passion for their craft and plenty of ideas of their own. Death In Bloom reveals that as in life, the release of control often renders the most beautiful and satisfying results.
Mitch Kennedy is an Australian based director and cinematographer.