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