Cinematographer to Watch: Nanu Segal of “Marvelous and the Black Hole” & “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn”

Well-crafted films can grab you by the shoulders and sink you into a new reality, a skill cinematographer Nanu Segal has mastered through her years in the business. Segal has an impressive resume of short and feature films, commercials,...

Cinematographer to Watch: Nanu Segal of “Marvelous and the Black Hole” & “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn”

Features

Cinematographer to Watch: Nanu Segal of “Marvelous and the Black Hole” & “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn”

Segal: Primetime

Well-crafted films can grab you by the shoulders and sink you into a new reality, a skill cinematographer Nanu Segal has mastered through her years in the business.

Segal has an impressive resume of short and feature films, commercials, and music videos. Most recently, Segal worked with director Kate Tsang on “Marvelous and the Black Hole,” which screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. A coming-of-age story, “Marvelous and the Black Hole” follows Sammy (Miya Cech), a rebellious teenager, as she forms an unlikely friendship with a children’s party magician. 

“Marvelous and the Black Hole”: Nanu Segal

Segal puts a great deal of thought into how the stylistic choices she makes can change the meaning of the shot and the viewing experience. In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, she discussed how she chose to shoot with different lenses to delineate between the main character’s real and imagined worlds. Stylistic choices like these allow for the audience to get into the character’s shoes and see the world from a new perspective.

“Marvelous and the Black Hole” is not the first quirky comedy Segal has given her creative eye to. In the 2018 comedy film “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn,” vibrant yellows and greens color the screen as Segal’s camera work transports the audience into this off-the-wall tale. In this absurdist comedy, the unhappily married Lulu Danger (Aubrey Plaza) discovers that a mysterious man from her past is coming to town to perform his show, “An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn; For One Magical Night Only.” She ends up at his show while avoiding her husband, who fired her from his business and robbed her brother’s convenience store. Segal describes the design of the film as “stylized naturalism,” grounding this story in the real world while keeping with the story’s outlandish nature.

“An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn”: Nanu Segal

Throughout Segal’s work, two things stand out as the heart of her cinematography: lighting and color. In all her work — from her films to her music videos to her photography — lighting and color plays an important role in the narrative. Her lighting is purposeful, leading the viewer to the focal point of the shot. In her conversation with Filmmaker Magazine, she describes how lighting played a part in the characterization of Lulu, stating, “I really wanted Lulu to glow in each of her scenes. Her character triggers and instigates so much of the action that I wanted to embrace that visually, though hopefully in a subtle way.” Segal also makes use of neutral colors, footing her works in reality while still being stylistically poignant. 

On what inspired her to become a cinematographer, Segal told Primetime, “the thrill of being moved and transported while sitting in a cinema was where it started for me. The cinema felt like home and I wanted to follow that feeling. I didn’t know what cinematography entailed at the time, but from the outside, it seemed to offer the perfect combination of technical intrigue and artistry. Since I took my first steps as a trainee, that sensation has never left me.”

“An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn” is available on Netflix. No word on a release date for “Marvelous and the Black Hole” just yet.