'The New Pope' Cinematographer Luca Bigazzi to Get Venice Festival Award

Luca Bigazzi
Courtesy of the Venice Film Festival

Bigazzi is best known for his work with Paolo Sorrentino on such features as 'Il Divo,' 'Youth' and 'The Great Beauty'.

Acclaimed Italian cinematographer Luca Bigazzi will be honored with this year's Campari Passion Award, a prize handed out by the Venice International Film Festival to honor below-the-line film talents, such as cinematographers, editors, composers and set and costume designers.

A versatile and adaptable filmmaker, Bigazzi has worked with a wide range of directors, including Iranian helmer Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy) or Italy's Michele Placido (Romanzo Criminale) and Silvio Soldini (Bread and Tulips). But he is best know for his long-running collaboration with Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, having lensed Sorrentino's Il Divo, Youth and The Great Beauty, among others.

Bigazzi also got behind the camera for Sorrentino's TV debut, the Sky/HBO series The Young Pope and its sequel The New Pope. The latter will have its world premiere in an out-of-competition screening in Venice Sept. 1. Bigazzi received an Emmy nomination for cinematography on The Young Pope.

“Italian cinema, from the second half of the 1980s to today, is closely tied to the extraordinary work of Luca Bigazzi,” said Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera in a statement. “With his personal, unorthodox approach, Bigazzi has revolutionized the way the cinematographer’s work is conducted: limited time dedicated to positioning the lights, a creative and ingenious way of using natural light sources, always glued to the view-finder to pinpoint the best possible angles and the most appropriate movements of the camera. He has absolutely no reverence for 35mm film; on the contrary, he joyfully experiments with the new possibilities offered by technological progress in shooting and manipulating images. His extreme versatility lets him work with all different kinds of directors, whose approach to cinema seems like the opposite of his own (for instance, his surprising partnership with Sorrentino). This dovetails with his talent for speed, precision, a disregard for consolidated rules, and an inclination to adapt himself to all kinds of budgets, all of which have made him the best Italian cinematographer in the past thirty years.”

Bigazzi will receive his award at a ceremony Sept. 1 just before the screening of episodes 2 and 7 of The New Pope. The series stars Jude Law, John Malkovich, Silvio Orlando, Cécile de France, Javier Cámara and Ludivine Sagnier.  Produced by Sky with HBO and Canal+, The New Pope was developed by Italy's Wildside and is being sold worldwide by Fremantle.

The 76th Venice International Film Festival runs Aug. 28-Sept. 7.