KRZYSZTOF KIEŚLOWSKI AWARD
The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography CAMERIMAGE is above all a celebration of the artistry of filmmakers who do not stand in the limelight for most of the time, and prefer to stand behind, not in front of camera; a way of saluting those wonderful craftsmen for their efforts in turning cinema, medium brought to life for strictly entertainment purposes, into a true realm of art. Nevertheless, Camerimage is also vastly appreciative of the work of distinguished actors, artists who not only enhance and support through their talent the above-mentioned filmmakers, but also often engage themselves in dozens of various ways of promoting the visual art and the effervescent power of cinema. During over 20 years of its existence the Festival has awarded many brilliant actors – Gary Oldman, Charlize Theron, the late Gustaw Holoubek, Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe, Jan Machulski, Irene Jacob, Viggo Mortensen, Jerzy Stuhr, Julia Ormond, John Malkovich, Liam Neeson, and many others – who are invariably associated with taking part in numerous independent projects and continuously search for new ways of artistic expression. We are immensely proud that this extraordinary group will soon be joined by the British actor Alan Rickman, who will receive Krzysztof Kieslowski Award during the 22nd edition of Camerimage.
Alan Rickman; Alan Rickman Archive
Alan Rickman's star has been shining brightly in the firmament of cinema for over four decades now, but it is still hard to believe how many cult and iconic parts he enriched with his screen presence. He gave a commanding and memorable performance already in his feature film debut – his wonderfully cunning and sarcastic Hans Gruber from John McTiernan's Die Hard was a bad guy who stole many scenes from Bruce Willis's John McClane, and swept many a girl off her feet. Similarly, his spellbinding turn as Sheriff of Nottingham in Kevin Reynolds' Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was both irresistibly charming and truly wicked, making Kevin Costner's main protagonist a supporting player in many scenes (Rickman also won BAFTA Award for this role). Alan Rickman did not focus only on playing exuberant rascals, though, and often created complicated characters who resisted a simple hero/villain dichotomy – one of them was Éamon de Valera from Neil Jordan's Michael Collins (BAFTA Award nomination), Irish politician torn between fighting for independence of his country and being loyal to the people who had been helping him before but stopped sharing his vision. Rickman is also a wonderful comedy actor – in Kevin Smith's Dogma he cheekily played a cynical and mischievous angel, and in Garth Jennings' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, with only his voice at hand, he was hilarious as the desperate and suicidal robot Marvin. He also proved his versatility with his powerfully romantic turn as Col. Christopher Brandon in Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility (BAFTA Award nomination), heartbreaking role as Harry, Emma Thompson's flawed husband in Richard Curtis' Love Actually, or surprising performance in Tim Burton's drama/horror/musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Stills from "Die Hard", "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves"
and "Michael Collins"
Younger audiences fell in love with his restrained but sharp turn as charismatic professor Severus Snape in all eight films of the Harry Potter series, whereas TV audiences recognized his immense talent in such nuanced roles as Tybalt from Alvin Rakoff's Romeo & Juliet, Vidal from mini-series Thérèse Raquin, and the legendary Grigori Rasputin from Uli Edel's memorable film of the same name. This last part brought him Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy Award, Golden Satellite Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award. Alan Rickman's screen credits also include a mesmerizing turn as genius Viennese physician Franz Anton Mesmer in Roger Spottiswoode's Mesmer (Montréal World Film Festival Award for Best Actor), a wonderful supporting part as Ronald Reagan to Jane Fonda's Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels' The Butler, and... a very curiously romantic ghost in Anthony Minghella's Truly Madly Deeply (BAFTA Award nomination). Despite the success he had in cinema and television, Alan Rickman has always considered theatre as his greatest love, and constantly fulfills himself on the stage. Having graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, young Rickman had begun his acting affair with the theatre as a member of the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, and subsequently played in dozens of plays on West End, Broadway and many other places. Among his impressive output one can find roles in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Brothers Karamazov, Private Lives, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, Love's Labour's Lost, or Mephisto. It was also theatre that inspired him to pursue a director's career. One of several plays he staged was 1995 adaptation of Sharman Macdonald's The Winter Guest. Two years later Rickman translated the same story onto the silver screen, making his feature directing debut that brought him two Venice Film Festival awards.
Stills from "Harry Potter", "Rasputin" and "Dogma"
Alan Rickman's acting talent, range and versatility are unquestionable and all of his achievements speak louder than a thousand words. He is an artist fully aware of his responsibilities, appreciative of the art of film and theatre, who is both getting the pleasure and inspiration from creating new and fascinating characters and giving through his work the pleasure and inspiration to the viewers. Additionally, Rickman has always been a wonderful partner for all sorts of filmmakers, using his greatest actor's attributes – voice, physicality, movement – to help them in creating brave new cinematic worlds. We could not imagine an actor more worthy of receiving Krzysztof Kieslowski Award, which is supposed to be a recognition of what's best and most valuable in the acting profession.
Still from "A Little Chaos"
Moreover, Alan Rickman will bring to Bydgoszcz his latest acting and directing effort, and present it personally to Camerimage participants. A Little Chaos (cin. Ellen Kuras), which had its international premiere at the Closing Gala of Toronto Film Festival, is a period drama set within the court of Louis XIV, “The Sun King”, but its main protagonist is a landscape architect, Sabine de Barra (Kate Winslet). Rickman is quick to explain that apart from being a period piece, A Little Chaos (Polish distributor: Monolith Films) is also a universal tale of women's struggle in the patriarchal society. After the special screening Alan Rickman will meet the audience for Q&A session.