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Pardo alla carriera to Dante Spinotti

The Italian cinematographer will receive the Festival’s Pardo alla carriera achievement award on Thursday 12 August in Piazza Grande. The 74th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will feature screenings of a pair of landmark titles that reflect his tireless artistic research on light in film and his creative partnership with Michael Mann: The Insider (1999) and Heat (1995). Spinotti himself will round off the tribute by taking part in a panel conversation with the audience on 13 August.

Over his long career, Dante Spinotti has lit up a diverse range of genres and seasons in world cinema: after early experience in television, he made his big screen debut with Il minestrone (Sergio Citti, 1981) before producer Dino De Laurentis took him to Hollywood, where his superb artistic partnership with director Michael Mann brought a raft of prestigious awards and an Academy Award nomination, for The Insider. From tough city thrillers (L.A. Confidential, Curtis Hanson, 1997, also Oscar-nominated), via the western (The Quick and the Dead, Sam Raimi, 1995), rom-com (Frankie and Johnny, Garry Marshall, 1991), to superhero movies (X-Men: The Last Stand, Brett Ratner, 2006, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Peyton Reed, 2018): there is scarcely a genre to which this great master has not made a priceless contribution, which explains why he was equally sought out by auteur filmmakers ranging from Ermanno Olmi to Lina Wertmüller to Peter Bogdanovich.

Giona A. Nazzaro, artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival: “Dante Spinotti is a master of light and a figurehead of Italian excellence: in effect, an auteur DP. After working with directors such as Sergio Citti and Aldo Lado, Salvatore Samperi and Liliana Cavani, Spinotti went to Hollywood, where his collaboration with Michael Mann rewrote the aesthetic codes of contemporary noir among several other genres – works which stand as some of the most admired U.S. films of recent decades. As artist and craftsman, Spinotti experimented ceaselessly, working between the States and Italy with directors as diverse as Sam Raimi and Ermanno Olmi, Giuseppe Tornatore and Barbra Streisand. Equally at ease with intimate psychological reality or the world of fantasy, he also impressed his distinctive style on superhero movies. Celebrating Dante Spinotti means paying homage to a huge talent of cinematography, to an artist who changed our way of perceiving moving pictures on the big screen. Without Dante Spinotti’s immense contribution, the cinema would be poorer and less beautiful. To celebrate Dante Spinotti is both a privilege and a joy.”

The tribute program

Two titles from Dante Spinotti’s outstanding filmography will be celebrated to honor his achievement:

  • Heat by Michael Mann – USA – 1995, presented in Piazza Grande on the evening of 12 August
  • The Insider by Michael Mann – USA – 1999

Dante Spinotti will receive the Pardo alla carriera on 12 August in Piazza Grande, while on 13 August he will be the center of a panel conversation with the audience at the Forum @Rotonda by la Mobiliare.

Previous winners of the Festival’s Pardo alla carriera award have included Francesco Rosi, Claude Goretta, Bruno Ganz, Claudia Cardinale, Johnnie To, Harry Belafonte, Peter-Christian Fueter, Sergio Castellitto, Víctor Erice, Marlen Khutsiev, Bulle Ogier, Mario Adorf, Jane Birkin and, in 2019, Fredi M. Murer.

Dante Spinotti – Bio

Dante Spinotti was born in Tolmezzo, in Italy’s north-eastern province of Udine, in 1943. He began his career with the State broadcaster Rai, after learning the rudiments of the cinematographer’s trade with a filmmaking uncle, Renato Spinotti, in Kenya. In 1985 he got his big break in Hollywood from producer Dino De Laurentiis, who brought him over for Michael Mann’s film Manhunter (1986). That experience was the catalyst for a stellar career in America, studded with hits that drew acclaim from both critics and audiences, such as The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann, 1992), Heat (Michael Mann, 1995), L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997), The Insider (Michael Mann, 1999) – with the last two bringing Academy Award nominations – and, more recently, X-Men: The Last Stand (Brett Ratner, 2006), Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Michael Apted, 2010).

In Italy his collaborations have included those with Ermanno Olmi on La leggenda del santo bevitore (The Legend of the Holy Drinker, 1988) and Il segreto del bosco vecchio (The Secret of the Old Woods, 1993); with Giuseppe Tornatore on L'uomo delle stelle (The Star Maker, 1995), for which he won a Nastro d’Argento; and with Roberto Benigni on Pinocchio (2002), for which he was nominated for a David di Donatello. His recent films include Ant-Man and the Wasp (Peyton Reed, 2018), Fatale (Deon Taylor, 2020) and Elyse (Stella Hopkins, 2020). In February 2012, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in Hollywood, the world’s oldest such association, gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award. In the same year he was elected to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). He is Honorary President of the Cineteca del Friuli regional film archive, where the Fondo Dante Spinotti has been set up as a special collection to preserve and enhance his legacy.

 

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