(2016) The pilgrimage to the Mecca

The pilgrimage to the Mecca for all cinematographers, Camerimage, is underway in the Polish city of Bydgozscz. The celebratory 25th Anniversary of the remarkable Festival will also take in the city in 2017. That pledge was made in the opening speech of Mayor Rafal Bruski at the Gala Opening which launched this edition on Saturday.


Marek Zydowicz festival Director

A rousing reception greeted the opening remarks of the Founding inspiration of the Festival Marek Zydowicz, as he appeared well on the road to recovering his full health. Cinematographers are ideally positioned through friendship to counter the depression of recent political decisions in America and Europe. It has been a year sadly marked by the departure of so many of the World’s greatest cinematographers, many of whom have loyally supported Camerimage, not least Vilmos and Haskell.

Camerimage is alive and kicking and continues to impress. The opening films in main competition established a benchmark in the formidable list picked as contenders. The distinguished Polish cinematographer Pawel Edelman never fails to deliver. His faultless, immaculate cinematography in the opening film, Afterimage, was a fitting tribute to his country’s greatest Director Andrzej Wajda. A reminder of the ruthlessness of the communist regime it is set in Lodz, the spiritual home of Polish Cinematography.

Opening Gala Concert with Wlodek Pawlik

The first film to screen on the second day in Main Competition, Lion, was also an emotional roller coaster of an experience leaving not a dry eye in the auditorium. The star performance was given by a five year old Sunny Pawel. If Oscars were given to child actors there would be no contest. Credit to the director Garth Davies responsible for this performance and complementary images from his Australian cinematographer Greig Fraser make this a must-see film.

Who else but Vittorio Storaro could so dominate a Camerimage programme for almost a day. He followed a morning panel appearance on a Technicolor Panel with a customary two and a quarter non-stop discourse on Digital Cinematography. It was masterly of its kind, finally addressing the digital dilemma that the art of preserving image capture on digital technology still may not stand the passage of time. Earlier in his discourse he compared cinematography to archaeology, music, painting and literature as the art form of the recent century. The unsolved issue was addressed well but not convincingly towards the end. At least he returns to Italy secure in the knowledge that his earlier masterpieces on film are secure for future generations. The profession should be grateful to Professor Storaro.

One of the pleasures in attending Camerimage for so many years has been to see the Festival grown and prosper commensurate with improvements in the quality living standards of the country and its people. The country has a spring in its step. The quality and enthusiasm for Camerimage is infectious. No other art form has anything to compare and all lovers of film, especially students, should be thankful to the organisers, volunteers and sponsors without whose generosity, dedication and support Camerimage would not exist.

Nigel Walters BSC Vice President

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