News Karlovy Vary IFF to honour cinematographer Vladimír Smutný

Published: April 16, 2019| 01:19 PM

At this year’s festival, the KVIFF President’s Award will go to cinematographer Vladimír Smutný.

Smutný, whose professional creed is service to the film’s narrative, has imprinted his distinctive visual style on dozens of Czech movies and has also collaborated on numerous foreign film projects.

After graduating from FAMU, Smutný worked as an assistant cinematographer, which gave him an opportunity to gain experience alongside legends of the trade such as František Uldrich and Jaromír Šofr. His first projects as DOP came in the 1980s when he worked primarily with director Jiří Svoboda: Encounter with the Shadows (1982), End of the Lonely Farm Berghof (1983) and Scalpel, Please (1985), among others. He then shot Good Light (1985) and Forbidden Dreams (1986) with Karel Kachyňa, with whom he also worked on the TV romance St. Nicholas Is in Town (1992) and the successful TV series The Train of Childhood and Expectation. In the mid-1990s his cinematic “eye” became an integral element of the films of Jan and Zdeněk Svěrák. After the Oscar-winning Kolya (1996), their collaboration continued with Dark Blue World (2001), Empties (2007), Kooky (2010), Three Brothers (2014), and the Svěrák’s most recent work Barefoot (2017). Smutný, whose cinematographic style is marked by his extraordinary approach to working with light, has been repeatedly sought out by other directors as well, including Ivan Fíla (Lea, 1996; King of Thieves, 2003), Jiří Vejdělek (Tender Waves, 2013; Patrimony, 2018) and Václav Marhoul, who engaged the camera master for Smart Philip (2003), Tobruk (2008) and the recently completed The Painted Bird (2019). In 1996-2004 Smutný worked on the successful detective series Maigret starring Bruno Cremer.

Vladimír Smutný is a seven-time winner of the Czech Lion for Best Cinematography, and a two-time winner of a Czech Film Critics’ Award. He also teaches at FAMU in Prague.

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