LAUREATES



EDWARD/ED LACHMAN


THE LAUREATE OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD “GOLDEN CAMERA 300”  AT THE 40 ICFF IS THE AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER

EDWARD/ED LACHMAN, ASC

Born on the 31 March 1948 in Morristown, New Jersey, USA.

A graduate of Harvard University (BA, 1965) who then continued his education at the Tours University, France, and in 1969 he graduated fine arts (BFA Painting) from the University of Ohio.

– For decades, Ed Lachman has been among the leading American and world cinematographers, working on the cinematography of several Academy Award contenders which should have led to at least one Oscar, but heended up with 2 Nominations instead. Therefore, at its 40th Anniversary, it is a huge pleasure for the “Manaki Brothers” Festival to award him with our ownOscar – the GOLDEN CAMERA 300 FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT, which he absolutely deserves.

– When at the beginning of this year Gena and I received the “Crystal Eye” Award which was presented to the “Manaki Brothers” Festival by the IMAGO/European Federation of Cinematographers at its Annual awards’ ceremony, we had the additional satisfaction that IMAGO, among this year’s 5 selected Nominees reaffirmed our last year’s laureate, Roger Deakins, as their Cinematographer of the Year for his masterpiece BLADE RUNNER 2049, and so we couldn’t resist affirming the great American Cinematographer Ed LACHMAN as our Laureate of the Golden Camera for Lifetime Achievement, even more so, as he had already been on our shortlist of most serious candidates for the Club of Greats of the Manaki Brothers Festival for quite some time.

– Despite his physical disability, Ed Lachman impresses with his creative energy. Startingfrom his beginnings  of the 1970s, all the way to the latest 3 long-feature films for this and the upcoming year: THE VIEWERS (pending production), THE MAN FROM ROME (in pre-production) and the UNTITLED TODD HAYNES PROJECT (post-production) he has tirelessly added to his already imposing list of movies, getting close to the number of 100 films, making as many as several features in one year during his fruitful career. Knowing his artistic profile as a totally committed admirer of cinema art and the visual arts in general (painting, that he is educated in; photography), topped with the 10 films that he signs as a director and the nearly 20 credits as a camera operator in films where his colleagues, some of them our laureates, were the cinematographers, in addition to the films where he himself had the dual role of cinematographer-director, Ed Lachman has shown a special love towards documentary films (shorts, medium and feature documentary ), whereby nearly half of his oeuvre is of the documentary genre, plus his work for television – which keeps you in awe and with due respect towards his personality as a great artists and above all as cosmopolitan and altruist. Therefore it is a great honor for us to have him as our Laureate at the Jubilee edition which, we are certain, will be at the great satisfaction of his colleagues, our foreign guests, and certainly our audiences who know how to appreciate the international masters of cinematography.

Working with a number of directors in the USA and Europe, his creative expression is marked by a variation of styles depending on the documentary or feature form, with a great sense of adjustment to the creative process and sensibility of the specific director.

Ed LACHMAN, with our Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement, as one of the most significant awards in his career (when we informed him that he was our choice for a new Laureate he was thrilled, honestly sharing with us that he had been wanting to come to Bitola and at the Manaki Brothers for some time already) has so far been presented with 41 international awards, some at festivals, some honorary, such as ours, and as many as 42 nominations. The most prominent among the nominations are the AAN/Oscar Nominations, he came within reach of this award twice, with the masterpieces: FAR FROM HEAVEN (Oscar Nomination for Best Cinematography in 2002) and CAROL (Oscar Nomination for Best Cinematography in 2015), both films directed by Todd Haynes, that Lachman has had the most fruitful and effective collaboration with, making together with him a world-renowned duo/tandem: cinematographer-director. For both films, which are otherwise deemed landmarks of his creative visual expression, he has won the awards of the two most respectable American associations: the National American Film Critics Society and the Circle of New York Film Critics. Also, for the film CAROL, in 2016 he won the BAFTA Award, along with the Annual Award by BSC, the British Society of Cinematographers, and in 2017, ASC/the American Society of Cinematographers presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

– The specificity of both those films CAROL and FAR FROM HEAVEN is in the common denominator of Lachman’s well-practiced collaboration with his tandem director Todd Haynes, with whom he has truly built the highest form of co-creativity. Another specificity are the two main actresses, Cate Blanchett in the first film (together with Rooney Mara) who are part of the female romantic duo from New York in the 1950s and Julianne Moore in the latter, playing a disillusioned homemaker at a similar age, in Connecticut, whose seemingly ideal suburban life of a successful marriage and family with children crumbles to pieces when one night she finds her husband kissing another man, and then she in turngets closer to her black gardener. These two subtle, specific psycho-romantic dramas unfold as Haynes directs them by focusing on the drama of the two married women, disappointed in their marriages, which is visually enhanced by Lachman as a cinematographer through the way he follows the emotions unfolding on the actresses’ – Blanchet’s and Moore’s – faces, whereby in CAROL his visual creativity reaches its peak, building up to a certain meta-feeling, some internal experience of the love between the younger Therese (Rooney Mara) who works in a fashion department store on Manhattan and who falls for the mysterious and more experienced woman Carol (Cate Blanchett, in one of the most complex role of her fruitful career) when they first meet, and then each of their following encounters is a visual explorationthrough various angles in the way their budding romance is painted and choreographed. Cate Blanchett is also specially treated and visually observed in one of the epitomes of post-modernist filmmaking with a European zest in Lachman’s and director Haynes’ expression:I AM NOT THERE (2007), where she portrays the character, or one of the stages of transformation of Bob Dylan’s personality, whereby Lachman, throughthe black & white and color photography reflects the spirit of the French New Wave and the subsequent Italian New Wave, the former drawing on Godard’s anthological film BREATHLESS and the latter on  Fellini’s 8 ½. The fruitful tandem collaboration between Haynes and Lachman continued with their more recent film from 2017, WONDERSTRUCK,the fairytale drama about two deaf children who have been on a quest for their parents since their childhood, with Julianne Moore in the role of one of their mothers, and their 50-year long adventure before they meet in New York. Lachman depicts their story with all the inherent drama and visual richness which finally culminates in some kind of a wonderland/ the Museum of Wonders, as the original title of the film suggests. In order to emphasize the mutual creativity in their tandem collaboration, Lachman, as a typical perception and formulation of his style, points to the following quote about him given by his partner-director, Todd Haynes: “He said about me that I don’t fall back on one style. That I try to reinterpret the imagery through the storytelling, through the script of what makes that script unique in itself. And I think that partly comes out of art school, because I studied different forms…”

Lachman previously launched his special inspiration with striking female characters through the acting performance and appearance of another great actress – Julia Roberts, who portrayed the brave young single mother– Erin Brokovich, working in a lawyers’ office and who gradually takes on an unequal struggle against the corporate tycoons behind the plant whose operations are dangerous to the environment, in the eponymous masterpiece ERIN BROCKOVICH by director Steven Soderbergh. Soderbergh, and in particular Lachman, follow Roberts’ acting in such an unfolding and dramatic way that it earned the actress 3 major awards: the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA Award. In his previous film THE LIMEY (1999), a crime-thriller-drama also directed by Soderbergh, Lachman focused on the close ups showing the rage and desire for revenge of his murdered daughter, through the expressions of Limey/Terence Stamp, justrecently released from prison, who sets off from London to Los Angeles to find the killer.

From the other American directors that Lachman has successfully collaborated with and has signed their anthological films, I would like to mention: Larry Clark with whom in the role of director and cinematographer they sign the cult film KEN PARK (2002); Robert Altman in the film A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2005); Previously, in 1999 together with Altman he worked on the film Dr. T & THE WOMEN, where he was the supporting cinematographer to Jan Kiesser. He was the main cinematographer of TOUCH (1996) and in particular LIGHT SLEEPER (1991), both directed by Paul Schrader. The latter one, in its atmosphere initiated from Schrader’s script, reminds of the cult film TAXI DRIVER, and Lachman’s photo gamma from LIGHT SLEEPER is complementary to the one of the cinematographer Michael Chapman from TAXI DRIVER, mainly due to the psychology of the lonely “night birds”, focusing on the central characters played by De Niro as the taxi driver in Scorsese’s film, while in Schrader’s film the light sleeper is Willem Dafoe, the dealer supplying drugs to the high New York/Manhattan society, whereby Lachman effectively builds up the film-noir atmosphere; with Susan Seidelman he signs another cult movie – the New York comedy DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN, which launched Madonna as an actress and where Lachman visually captured the spiritual and stylish vibrancy of the Big Apple in 1980s.

The group of American directors that he has collaborated with also include:Todd Solondzin the film LIFE DURING WAR TIME (2008); Sofia Coppolain the film THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (1999); Jonathan Demme, in whose early phase film, the  LAST EMBRACE (1979), he acted as a second, supporting cinematographer alongside Tak Fujimoto as the main cinematographer; he also collaborated with the director Gregory Nava in the film WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE (1997); in Frank Pierson’s film THE KING OF THE GYPSIES (1978) he collaborated with the legendary Swede, Sven Nykvist, as his cinematographer collaborator.

With the world renowned Indian, Mira Nair, in her most active and most effective creative stage in the USA he shot the film MISSISSIPPI MASALA (1990).

In London, Lachman collaborated with HanifKureishi, in the film LONDON KILLS ME (1991), and with another Brit – Marek Kanievska he shot his American film LESS THAN ZERO (1987). With the Austrian author Ulrich Seidl they unite their documentary affinities, and he co-signs 4 films by this leading Austrian director as a cinematographer together, as a tandem with VolwgangThaler, and so after the long-feature film on the commodification of love on the East/West relation which turns into prostitution inIMPORT/EXPORT (2005), with black humor nuances at the expense of old age as well, they continue their collaboration in the complementarydocu-feature trilogy on the topic of Paradise: PARADISE LOVE (2012), PARADISE FAITH (2012) and PARADISE HOPE (2013).
After he was hired by the German author Werner Herzog for the cinematography of the two mid-length documentaries: THE GREAT ECSTASY OF WOODCARVER STEINER (1973) and HOW MUCH WOOD WOULD A WOODCHUCK CHUCK (1995), thus establishing the foundation of their friendship from his beginnings, immediately, in 1976 Herzog hired him as second camera operator together with the cinematographer Thomas Mauch for his anthological, one of his first pieces, the film STROSZEK.

Over his equally active/parallel documentary stage, since I already emphasized that documentaries are his second, but definitely not lesser love, Lachman would collaborate with a plethora of top-notch documentary directors in the shooting of their anthological works, such as the tandem of directors: Nicholas Ray -WimWenders, in the film shot in 1979, when together with the cinematographer Martin Schafer, as a tandem, they would shot the anthological documentary film LIGHTNING OVER WATER-NICK’S MOVIE, which is in a way a self-portrait of the then cancer-ridden author Nick Ray, and his pre-mortem film testament. In 1982 Lachman shot the 59-minute documentary film REPORT FROM HOLLYWOOD, as director-producer, and in 1985 he shot the anthological documentary by WimWenders TOKYO-GA. This is in a way some kind of an homage that the two great contemporary artists: director Wenders and cinematographer Lachman, dedicated to the Japanese classic,YasujiroOzu and his cinematographer Yuharu Atsuta,to their masterpiece from 1953, the original eponymous cinematic prototype TOKYO-GA/TOKYO STORY, which,according to me, is among the 30 best films of all times. Lachman shot the feature length documentary on MOTHER THERESA (1985) with several colleagues over a period of 5 years, and the film went on to become an international winner of festival awards.

In his more recent stage, in 2015, with cinematographer Liza Rinzler they jointly shot the documentary portrait about one of the most original American documentary-authors, Robert Frank, the film titled after him – DON’T BLINK – ROBERT FRANK. Three decades before, he was engaged in the shooting of two other important documentary features: CHUCK BERRY- HAIL, HAIL ROCK’N’ROLL (1986) directed by Taylor Hackfordwhere Lachman was the camera operator and assistant cinematographer to Oliver Stapleton, and STRIPPER (1985), where he was the main cinematographer, while his colleagues Haskell Wexlerand David Mayers are his assistant-cinematographers.

The fact that Lachman is forever tied to the camera that he has always lovingly stood behind can be illustrated through his collaborations with famous colleagues-cinematographers in the movies: HURRICANE (1978) by Jan Troel, signed by the great Swedish cinematographer and our first laureate in the Club of Greats –Sven Nykvist. He has also worked together with another of our laureates from the Club of Greats, the triple Oscar-winner Vittorio Storaro, who was the cinematographer of LA LUNA (1979) directed by Bertolucci, and he has also collaborated with another master cinematographer from the Club of Greats – Robbie Muller, in the film THEY ALL LAUGHED (1980) by director Peter Bogdanovich and in another anthological master-piece by Wenders, THE AMERICAN FRIEND.

Having him as the most recent laureate of the Golden Camera 300 for Lifetime Achievement, with the inspiring dimension of his tireless creative energy, and all of the emphatic, humane and altruistic nobility through the personality and work of Ed LACHMAN, is the most appropriate imaginable way to uphold the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Manaki Brothers and the art of cinematographers.

Blagoja KUNOVSKI – DORE

Artistic Director


YORGOS ARVANITIS


THE LAUREATE OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD “GOLDEN CAMERA 300” AT THE 40th INTERNATIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHERS’ FILM FESTIVAL IS THE FRENCH-GREEK MASTER

YORGOS ARVANITIS, AFC/GSC

 

This year the International Cinematographers’ Film Festival Manaki Brothers pays tribute to Yorgos Arvanitis, one of the greatest European directors of photography of all time, whose work has influenced generations of cinéphiles and filmmakers.

Active as camera operator and cinematographer since the Sixties, Arvanitis moved his first successful steps in the Greek movie business at Finos Film before starting his legendary working partnership with Theo Angelopoulos, shifting then steadily to art house cinema and finally settling in France, his other professional homeland.

Over almost six decades, he has lit and shaped images of striking beauty in more than one hundred feature films across Europe and the Mediterranean region.

Born on February 22, 1941 in Dilofo, a small village in the regional unit of Phthiotis, Yorgos Arvanitis spends his childhood in the turbulent political aftermath of the German-Italian occupation of Greece. Having lost his father, a member of the Resistance, at a very young age he is forced to relocate with his brothers and sisters in Athens. In the capital he completes his education studying as electrician and briefly works in the construction business. Moved by an innate curiosity towards technology, soon he develops an interest in cinema and begins a very intense apprenticeship as assistant and camera operator, which comes to an end when the glorious Greek production company Finos Film hires him as cinematographer on Yannis Dalianidis’ O xypolytos pringips in 1966.

Towards the end of the Sixties, while still employed at Finos Film (for which he will continue to work until 1972), Arvanitis starts collaborating with Theo Angelopoulos, whom he had already met on the set of Kostas Lyhnaras’ Peripeteies me tous Forminx in 1965. The encounter between an ambitious left-wing film critic – who had to leave the IDHEC – Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques of Paris because of his nonconformist approach to the medium – and an equally ambitious director of photography at the beginning of his professional career leads to a very close but sometimes stormy artistic partnership, by far the most famous and influential in the history of Greek cinema.

Their first film together is the short The Broadcast (1968), a satirical piece of cinéma vérité, which wins the prize of the Hellenic Association of Film Critics at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Two years later, Reconstitution (1970), shot in a haunting black and white in a remote village in Epirus, marks their first international critical success and Arvanitis receives the first of the eight awards for best cinematography won in Thessaloniki in thirty-four years.

The following ten long feature films made with Angelopoulos between 1972 and 1998 – most of which shot with ARRI 2C, BL2, BL3 and BL4 cameras – are all milestones: Days of ’36 (1972), The Travelling Players (1975), The Hunters (1977), Alexander the Great (1980), Voyage to Cythera (1984), The Beekeeper (1986), Landscape in the Mist (1988), The Suspended Step of the Stork (1991), Ulysses’ Gaze (1995) and the Cannes Palme d’Or-winning Eternity and a Day (1998). Through them a vision of Greece is imposed on the public all over Europe and beyond. Angelopoulos’ melancholic cinematic world finds in Arvanitis a director of photography capable not only of lighting the scenes with incomparable elegance, but also of guaranteeing texture and depth to solitary protagonists always caught wandering along the invisible borders that separate past and present, reality and dream, history and memory. The style the two create in these groundbreaking films – now universally regarded as essential classics of modern Greek cinema – is unique: a daring combination of long takes and long shots which gives a strong, unsettling and somehow contradictory sense of both total stillness and never-ending movement. Characters like Marcello Mastroianni’s eponymous beekeeper in the 1986 hypnotic road movie shot in some of the most desolate parts of Greece or like Harvey Keitel’s laconic director who, in Ulysses’ Gaze, crosses the Balkans in search of lost film reels by the Manaki brothers seem to float in a timeless dimension. One single continuous shot can mysteriously take them across different stages of their personal story and of Greek history, because one single camera movement can convey the tragedy of both a man’s lonely soul and a whole nation’s meaningless destiny.

But Angelopoulos is not the only prominent filmmaker or avant-garde auteur who uses Arvanitis’ skills during the Seventies. In 1973 he shoots Dinos Dimopoulos’ O valtos, Pantelis Voulgaris’ O megalos erotikos and Tonia Marketaki’s John the Violent, which causes a sensation upon its release, while in 1975 he is one of the credited cinematographers of Jean-Jacques Andrien’s Locarno Golden Leopard-winning The Son of Amr Is Dead, an existentialist – and slightly Antonionesque – meditation on identity and post-colonial values with the iconic French star Pierre Clémenti.

At the end of the decade, he also has the chance to add to his filmography two important collaborations with Michael Cacoyannis, with whom he explores ancient Greek myths in the Oscar-nominated Iphigenia (1977), and with Jules Dassin, whose psychological drama A Dream of Passion (1978) gives him the opportunity to lit close-ups of two revered actresses like Melina Mercouri and Ellen Burstyn. Both films receive high praise internationally, and the shift to art house cinema is for him irreversible.

Now a well-established director of photography, admired for the unmistakable precision of his masterful long takes, in the mid-Eighties Arvanitis is nevertheless forced to face the decline of the Greek film industry. The risk of ending up trapped in a cliché and the awards won in 1989 in Chicago for Landscape in the Mist and in Venice for Andrien’s Australia – a lusciously elegant period piece with Fanny Ardant and Jeremy Irons – convince him to move to Paris with his family that same year.

In France, while progressively distancing himself from Angelopoulos’ increasingly lyrical mannerism (in their last three films together former assistant Andreas Sinanos is co-credited as cinematographer), he joins the AFC – Association Française des directeurs de la photographie Cinématographique and goes on widening his artistic horizons by putting his pictorial talent at the service of some of the most sophisticated filmmakers active on the international scene. For him the Nineties are a decade of discovery and change: realistic city landscapes, Parisian apartments and even exotic sceneries replace the foggy Greek wastelands which had made him so famous in the festival circuit, while his approach to cinematography becomes more pragmatic – the images less austere, even though equally refined.

He works with Randa Chahal Sabag (Sand Screens, 1991), Volker Schlöndorff (Voyager, 1991), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (I Think of You, 1992), Marco Bellocchio (The Butterfly’s Dream, 1994), Agnieszka Holland (Total Eclipse, 1995), Goran Paskaljević (Someone Else’s America, 1995), Marco Ferreri (Nitrate Base, 1996), Éric Heumann (Port Djema, 1997), Sean Mathias (Bent, 1997) and Radu Mihăileanu (Train of Life, 1998), always succeeding in enriching the visuals of the films with his ARRI BL cameras. During this almost hectic period of new artistic challenges, widely praised is also his partnership with the controversial Catherine Breillat: four erotically charged dramas in eight years, from Romance (1999) to The Last Mistress (2007).

Jonathan Nossiter’s Signs and Wonders (2000), with Charlotte Rampling, marks his first experience with digital technology, followed by other acclaimed art films shot in France, Maghreb and the Middle East: Liberté-Oléron (2001) by Bruno Podalydès, La boîte magique (2002) by Ridha Behi, Kedma (2002) by Amos Gitai and The Last Letter (2002), a rare detour from documentary filmmaking in the career of Frederick Wiseman.

After more than fifteen years spent mainly supporting young directorial talents such as Yasmine Kassari (The Sleeping Child, 2004), Thomas Clay (The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael, 2005) and Joyce A. Nashawati (Blind Sun, 2015 – which earned him prizes for best cinematography at the Toronto International Film Festival and at the Brussels European Film Festival), in 2019 he reunited with a fellow countryman who, like him, found success and recognition in France: Costa-Gavras. Their highly anticipated new film, Adults in the Room, based on Yanis Varoufakis’ best-selling political memoir, had its world premiere out of competition at the 76th Venice International Film Festival.

President of the Thessaloniki Film Festival since 2015 and of the GSC – Greek Society of Cinematographers since 2019, Yorgos Arvanitis hasn’t stopped travelling and shooting. Being convinced, as he has often stated, that his best work is yet to come, he seems to have no intention to slow down and put his camera aside. Fifty-three years after receiving his first full credit as director of photography, he is still a towering figure in European cinema.

Massimo Lechi

Film critic, Italy


LJUPCHO KONSTANTINOV


THE RECIPIENT OF THE “GREAT STAR OF MACEDONIAN CINEMA AWARD 2019”  IS THE COMPOSER,

LJUPCHO KONSTANTINOV

“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music” – Kurt Vonnegut

Ljupcho Konstantinov is an unusual man living in his own magnificent world. This is how, once, actor Meto Jovanovski described this musical genius of ours. And then proceeded to add: it is a rare privilege possessed only by those individuals with an undeniable instinct and God’s gift, who would do anything to translate the every-day grayness into a sublime, creative, musical, artistic act. According to the theater and cinema professionals within and outside the country, he is an absolute genius as a creator. The still water that runs deep. Not a single film, not a single theater play would have found such reception among those watching the artistic products that he has invested him in, if it had not been for the unique, recognizable (from the very first beat) music, emanating from his notes. The man living in his own curious world, which is in its pure essence a wonderful one, the man withdrawn in his quiet aura, seemingly mystical, Ljupcho Kontstantinov creates wonderful, ever-lasting music, which moves deeply, all generations, music that’s addictive, like the sweetest opiate.

For his decade-long experience, his profound, even fanatic commitment to the making of music for numerous theater plays and films within and outside the country, his successful collaboration with top-notch artists (actors, directors, composers, script-writers…), Ljupcho Konstantinov is this year’s winner of the prestigious award “Great Star of Macedonian Cinema” presented by the Macedonian Film Professionals Association. This rare master of stage music of ours, that we frenetically applaud to, can be placed among the rare people who, without any shadow of a doubt, are perceived as geniuses, as creatives who only live for what they do, for what they create – for the quest for sublime beauty, for the secrets of the language of music. Blessed by God, Ljupcho Konstantinov possess voluptuous talent, which he translates into powerful sound.

There seems to be no person who has seen the Yugoslav Oscar Candidate, the cult – “Happy New Year ‘49”, without noticing the music. Here, Konstantinov created a brilliant theme which supports the plot in a way that makes the hair on your back stand. You cannot forget that. You remember it for the rest of your life. His music also gives real support to the story of another film directed by Stole Popov – “Tattoo” that we can freely say gained widespread popularity exactly due to the theme through which Konstantinov by means of sound, managed to touch the core of the narration, “auditorily” enriching the recognizable film lines, and certainly, the essence of the film theme – the immaculate functioning of absurdity, repression, violence… “The Red Horse”, “Southern Path”, “Haven’t I Told You” which marked the 80s in the Macedonian film art, or some of the more recent films from the 90s – “Macedonian Saga”, “Angels of the Dumps”, “Across the Lake”, “Time, Life”…, literally all of them possess an exceptional sound palette, which continuously affirms Ljupcho Konstantinov’s inexhaustible creative impetus.

He himself claims, in an interview, that creating brings him great pleasure. That, when contemplating on the question of “what is happiness”, his answer would be that “happiness is to do what you love”. And this can strongly be felt. Even more so in the theater plays where music has its own course and leaves together with the play, leaving ephemeral traces, unlike cinema. Although, according to him, it is easier to compose for a movie, creating a theatre play score is a very peculiar thing, as theater is a live art. In particular, he emphasizes, it is a huge pleasure to practice a live instrumental accompaniment, turning the entire play into a single organism.

That’s how he, Ljupcho Konstantinov, perceives theater. In all of his years of creation, the encounters with directors such as the exceptional Paolo Mageli, Tomasz Pandur, Branislav Micunovic, Luka Barbadori, Sergio Castello and Penelope Cruz, Ozren Prohic, Slobodan Unkovski, Rahim Burhan, Roberto Chuli, Kole Angelovski, Dimitar Stankovski, Dushko Naumovski, Branko Stavrev, Ljubisha Georgievski, Stole Popov, Stevo Crvenkovski, Aco Aleksov, Naum Panovski, Vlado Cvetanovski, Dimitrie Ruli Osmanli, Branko Gapo, Kole Manev, Aleksandar Popovski, Antonio Mitrikevski, Ivan Mitevski … are only a case in point for his commitment, high professionalism, and above all – authenticity in the creation. And it is not “by accident” that he was in such high demand outside the country, the need to have exactly him to round off the play giving the final touch with the magic of sound in the theater circles in Ljubljana, Maribor, Zagreb, Spllit, Dubrovnik, Podgorica, Belgrade, Novi Sad…, as well as Italy, Germany, South America… So it is not by accident, as he himself confirms, that wherever he goes, and at theater festivals in particular, he feels at home. Over there, that world, does recognize his genius. The sounds of romanticism, melancholy, sadness, joy, the sounds of the classical European, standard school, then the modern eclectic tones (styles) weaved like filigree in his cinema scores, along with what has been etched on his heart since birth, the typical melodies and rhythms of our region, – all of this would add up to only give us a superficial, feigning analysis of everything he has created.

Ljupcho Konstantinov was born in the most beautiful Macedonian town, Ohrid, in 1946. When several years ago he was presented with the “Upper Gate” Award, he said: I feel like Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, who comes back home after a long journey”. His Ohrid, is, of course, still the home that he always returns to, wherever he goes. The beauty there is also part of the beauty of his music. It is the root, in fact, of his entire inspiration that later on spreads its wings into a worldly, cosmopolitan way. From Ohrid he sets off to Bitola where he starts his musical education attending the Secondary Music School. His next destination was the then capital of Yugoslavia and center of culture and art, Belgrade, where he went to the Music Academy and graduated in 1972. Yet, he went back to his own Ohrid, after the studies, where he, in fact started his professional, as well as pedagocial career, working as a music teacher in several village scholls (Velgoshti, Leskoec, Peshtani), and at the same time giving music lessons to the children hospitalized at the Orthopedics and Traumatology Hospital “St. Erasmus” and the “Children’s Hospital for Cardiovascular Diseases” in Ohrid. Some time later, he started working as a music journalist in Radio Ohrid.

However, he had started composing music during his secondary school days. He initially focused on composing popular music and producing the arrangements of the Cultural-Artistic Association “Stiv Naumov” in Bitola, as well as composing for the needs of the then Radio Skopje. He spent most of his professional life in the then Macedonian Radio-Television. In 1975 he got a job in Radio Skopje as a music associate, music producer, editor of the Entertainment Section of MRT, the artistic director (1998) of the first National Eurovision Song Contest, and he finished his professional service as a composer for the program needs of MRT. Apart from the outstanding output as an author of music for theater plays (more than 90) and films, which apart from documentaries also include documentaries and animated films, he has also made numerous scores of music for TV films, series and dramas. He is the author of a number of pop songs, as well as over 200 production arrangements of pop songs, an area where he also showed mastership, an investment of great worth for the popular music in Macedonia.

The large number of awards and high accolades reaffirm his huge contribution to the area of stage music: “The Golden Arena” at the Film Festival in Pula for the music in the film “Happy New Year 49”, three “Golden Laurel Wreaths” at ME for the theater plays “Electra”, “Scheherazade” and “Faust”, the Critics’ Award at the Second International Festival in Mexico City for best music for the  play “Scheherezade”, at the theater festival “Vojdan Chernodrinski”, an award for the music in the theater play “The Old Photographs”…

Ljupcho Konstantinov, our music wizard, is a man who is not very fond of exposing himself. Of flattering people, of “showing off” with what he has achieved, of being constantly talked about in the public and in the media. He is a man, who, to put it simply, does his job. And whatever he has to say, is written down on a page with staves.

These lines are too few to cover everything about the life and work of Ljupcho Konstantinov. The Awards too. And this particular Award – “The Great Star of Macedonian Cinema” is just another “thank you” for what he leaves to us as heritage – music! It bears no limits in terms of space and time, it is simply music – the sole and only thing that keeps us alive.

Thank you Maestro Konstantinov, for existing.

Tina Ivanova – musicologist