"Tilly" actually has two Directors of Photography because the director wanted two distinct aesthetics to contrast how Tilly feels in various scenes. I mostly handled the moments that leaned more toward the experimental, typically with Tilly alone and left to contemplate the death of her boyfriend and how to move forward. We shot this dream sequence where Tilly sees her boyfriend in a wooded area after getting lost in thought for quite a while.
Part of the experimental nature of the film was that the director didn't want to enforce too many of the typical filmmaking conventions with regard to covering a scene. We always sought atypical shot choices like watching Tilly from behind. We also made the choice to shoot the film with uncoated lenses to create more flaring and give the image a hazier look. We completely embraced the flares in hopes that the whole film almost feels like Tilly's bad dream.
This shot was one of those impromptu moments on set when someone has an idea that immediately equates to a striking image. The shooting environment on this film was really supportive of that kind of thinking and we always tried to stay as flexible as possible for being able to pop off a shot that sparks in someone's head. In this case all of our lighting is outside the window, so the director has freedom to move the actors wherever she wants.
Tilly is a bit precocious for a young girl so we had to get her outside at night. We tried different ways of working in her environment. In this shot we used the foreground to try to say a little bit about her. The foreground elements help to emphasize how aimless she is after her boyfriend's passing. Even though she walks around the city at night, she doesn't really have anywhere to go.
This was the only scene in the film that I shot wherein people actually talk! Here Tilly's mother paints her nails while sharing a story of when she was Tilly's age. I chose to light them with a soft, saturated magenta light to make the scene and the space seem more angelic. There's an innocence to the moment when her mom talks about being a teenager that begged for something special. Not to mention that I am the experimental end of the DP duo.
After Tilly's mom leaves the room, she turns off the lights and just the moonlight comes through. It shows Tilly coming back into the real world after checking out for a moment to reminisce with her mom. The dreamcatcher prop was featured earlier on in the film and the hard light through the window helped to emphasize it one last time.