Light Keeps Me Company
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Sven Nykvist, best known for his work with Ingmar Bergman, photographed scenes with an expressive simplicity that ran counter to the technically slick lighting schemes that prevailed at the times, and helped create some of the most important films of modern cinema. Featuring interviews with many famous people who he inspired, this documentary examines the influential cameraman's tumultuous life and the respite he found in movie-making.
"Feeling wrapped in light gives me a sense of spiritual atmosphere," confesses legendary cinematographer Sven Nykvist, whose rich career suddenly ended in 1998 when he was diagnosed with aphasia. This retrospective documentary directed by son Carl-Gustav Nykvist examines the way he molded the cold winter light and simple studio setups into the enthralling images in films by Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Andrei Tarkovksy, and of course Ingmar Bergman. "Our feeling for light was the same," observes Bergman in a rare interview, as generous film excerpts illustrate. While the quality of some of the clips is less than stellar (and many are unidentified), the power and texture of the images sear through. Carl-Gustav is less revealing of his father's personal life, suggesting that his career came at the expense of his family, and that this reverent and loving tribute is a son's attempt to reconnect. The DVD features a text introduction by the director and a comprehensive Sven Nykvist filmography. --Sean Axmaker
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The full filmography of Sven Nykvist (117 films between 1943 and 1999) is a useful extra, but I don't think the trailer for the totally unrelated "Live Nude Girls" is necessary on this disc.
However, the DVD edition aside, this is a rich and wonderful documentary (which alone, I would give full points,) and I will recommend it to people who work within--or are interested in--any aspect of filmmaking.