Witold Sobociński PSC Lifetime Achievement Award

Photo: by Anna Konop

Witold Sobociński PSC will be the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the next Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography which will be held in Bydgoszcz between 10th and 17th November 2018

(Source Camerimage)
"Witold Sobociński is one of the most distinguished Polish cinematographers, and his world-famous camerawork has contributed to over 90 feature films, documentaries, and series. The cinematography for one of the first etudes – a film in the style of Italian neorealism, The Boats Depart At Dawn (dir. R. Ber, 1955), where he illustrated the unity of humans and the elements –

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Still from "Frantic"
[Witold Sobociński's private archive]

brought him international acclaim.

During his time at the Film School, he was a musician in the legendary jazz band Melomani. An ear for music, a sense of rhythm, and the ability to improvise have all made their way into his cinematography. Rhythm, harmony, dynamism, and subtlety in the composition of an image are what makes Sobociński’s camerawork unique.

In the films Hands Up (dir. J. Skolimowski, 1967) and Everything for Sale (dir. A. Wajda, 1968) he employed original forms of expression with the camera, showing the inner experiences of a character. He shot subsequent films alongside Krzysztof Zanussi, Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Roman Polański, and Jerzy Wójcik.

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Still from "Pirates"
[Witold Sobociński's private archive]

Colour and light play an important part in Sobociński’s camerawork. He gives colour a dramaturgic function and makes chromatic arrays for particular scenes, telling a story about the outer world and the characters’ inner space. His choice of colours is inspired by painters of different eras. One can find examples of this in films such as The Third Part of the Night (dir. A. Żuławski, 1971), Hospital of the Transfiguration (dir. E. Żebrowski, 1978), The Phantom (dir. M. Nowicki, 1983), and O-Bi, O-Ba: The End of Civilization (dir. P. Szulkin, 1983).

The Wedding (dir. A. Wajda, 1972) and The Hourglass Sanatorium (dir. W.J. Has, 1973) are among the peak achievements of cinematography due to their approach to colour and the method of illustrating space.

In search of the form of an image, Sobociński obeys the rule of not repeating methods that he has used in films before. He strives to create an original, unrepeatable form of art in every film he shoots. Whenever he chooses a style, he retains it throughout the entire film, while following established aesthetic foundations.

Since 1980, he has been a lecturer at the PWSFTiTv in Łódź, and a master for numerous generations of Polish cameramen. Sobociński is also the head of a family of camera operators. He is the father of cameraman Piotr Sobociński, who died in 2001, and the grandfather of Piotr Sobociński Jr and Michał Sobociński, who also are cameramen."

Written on the basis of the article by Seweryn Kuśmierczyk

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Still from "The Wedding"
[photo: INPLUS / East News]

On the set of "The Hourglass Sanatorium"
[Witold Sobociński's private archive]