Poland's Camerimage Fest to Honor 'The Shining' Cameraman John Alcott

2:11 AM PST 08/22/2014 by Scott Roxborough
Warner Bros./Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

The late lenser shot four films with Stanley Kubrick

Poland's Camerimage Festival, the leading film fest dedicated to the art of cinematography, will this year pay tribute to the late, Oscar-winning cameraman John Alcott.

The British cinematographer, who died in 1986, is best known for his collaborations with Stanley Kubrick, including on The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Alcott received his only Oscar for Kubrick's period drama Barry Lyndon, which also won him a BAFTA and best cinematography honors from the British society of cinematographers and the national society of film critics in the U.S.

Camerimage will screen a retrospective of Alcott's work through this year's festival, which runs Nov.15-22 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, as part of a special “Remembering the Masters” series. The series, according the festival, aims to “highlight the craft of the brilliant cinematographers who have passed away ... In the moment of the digital revolution, both mental and technological, it is crucial not to forget about the fascinating history of cinema.” Last year, Camerimage paid tribute to the late cinematographer Harris Savides, whose credits included David Fincher's The Game and Milk from Gus Van Sant

Alcott's work with Kubrick was often groundbreaking. Working under legendary cameraman Geoffrey Unsworth, Alcott did additional photography on the iconic 2001, which even today is regarded as a masterpiece of the sci-fi genre and the cinematographer's craft. As lead cinematographer on A Clockwork Orange and The Shining, Alcott made powerful use of new techniques, including optical deformations and, on The Shining, the Steadicam. But it was with Barry Lyndon that Alcott left his mark on cinema history. The drama, set in eighteenth-century England, was the first-ever movie that shot night scenes without any artificial illumination, relying entirely on natural candlelight.

Alcott's other credits include Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, war drama Under Fire and Alcott's last project as cinematographer, spy thriller No Way Out, starring Kevin Costner.

Twitter: @sroxborough

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