Wednesday, September 20, 2006

R.I.P. Sven Nykvist (1922-2006)

The cinematographer known as "The Master of Light" died Wednesday after a long illness. Sven Nykvist memorably collaborated with filmmakers as diverse as Woody Allen (Crimes and Misdemeanors), Bob Fosse (Star 80), Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle), Alan J. Pakula (Starting Over) and Lasse Hallstrom (What's Eating Gilbert Grape), and earned Academy Awards for two of his many films with Ingmar Bergman (Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander). A melancholy note: His final film, a featherweight comedy titled Curtain Call (1999), barely received theatrical release -- despite the presence of such notables as Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, James Spader, Marcia Gay Harden and Sam Shepard in the cast -- and wound up going the direct-to-DVD route in the United States. According to Internet Movie Data Base, Nykvist already was enduring the early stages of Alzheimer's disease while working on this ill-starred project. But he didn't stop working until he had to.

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