Alex Phillips (cinematographer)

Alexander Phillips (born Alexander Pelepiock; January 11, 1900 – June 14, 1977) was a Canadian-Mexican cinematographer. He worked on over 200 films, most of them during the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. Throughout his career, he was nominated 14 times for an Ariel Award for Best Cinematography which he won twice for En La Palma de Tu Mano and Untouched.

Alex Phillips
Alexander Pelepiock

(1900-01-11)January 11, 1900
Renfrew, Ontario, Canada
DiedJune 14, 1977(1977-06-14) (aged 76)
Other namesAlec Phillips
Years active1921–1973
Alicia Bolaños
(m. 1933)
ChildrenAlex Phillips Jr.
Myrna Phillips
AwardsAriel Award for Best Cinematography
1952 En La Palma de Tu Mano
1955 Untouched

In 1973, Phillips was recognized with a Golden Ariel from the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences for his excellence and contributions to the Mexican film industry.

Early life


Phillips was born in Renfrew, Ontario. In his youth, his family moved to Russia, but he returned to Canada because of his dislike with the czarist government. He enlisted in the Canadian Army where he met Mary Pickford who introduced him to Hollywood since he expressed his interest in becoming an actor.



He auditioned with Fox and Paramount Pictures but was unable to obtain a role. And studied under Stanley Shoemakers wing. He later approached Christie Comedies where he was advised to look for more stable positions in the movie industry and started his career in cinematography and film editing. He received an opportunity when an assistant fell sick and was able to travel to France with the Canadian Official Photography. After Christie Comedies went bankrupt, he was hired by Samuel Goldwyn while he attended evening classes. He received the opportunity of working with Barnes, Edison and Meyer, and learned techniques such as graduations, tridimensional vision, and the sense of potential balance. Phillips then began experimenting with lights and camera movements.



He moved to Mexico in 1931 and worked with directors such as Arcady Boytler, Roberto Gavaldón, Julio Bracho, and Luis Buñuel. He worked on some of the earliest Mexican movies such as the silent film Santa (1931) where his work was considered expressionist. He worked in more than 250 movies in Mexico and 150 in the United States including La mujer del puerto (1934), Aventuras de Robinson Crusoe (1952 with Luis Buñuel), La Red (1953 with Emilio Fernández). His last film was El castillo de la pureza (1972 with Arturo Ripstein).



Selected filmography