EnergaCamerimage Fetes Danny DeVito as Cinematography Festival Returns to Torun

Will Tizard

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Poland’s EnergaCamerimage Intl. Film Festival, Europe’s leading event celebrating cinematography, came full circle Saturday, opening in Torun, the Gothic town where the founders first launched it 27 years ago. The fest was based in Bydgoszcz from 2010 until this year, operating previously in Lodz.

Kicking off with a video call to David Lynch, a longtime friend of the fest, Camerimage director Marek Zydowicz accepted the cult filmmaker’s congratulations on a deal to found the European Film Center, a $155 million project expected to open in five years as the new fest headquarters. “Big thumbs up,” Lynch said, addressing the festival audience via remote camera in New York.

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Danny DeVito added to the star wattage when he took to the stage at the gala fest opening, in Torun’s impressive CKK Jordanki performance hall, filled with angular brick surfaces, to accept a lifetime achievement award

Before the septuagenarian actor/director recounted a story of accidentally smashing an expensive Panavision lens on set, he thanked cinematographers for his career, adding “I couldn’t have done it without you.” DeVito then said, “I hit my marks. I did the shit you told me to do.”

Artist and filmmaker Peter Greenaway also won lifetime achievement honors, taking the stage following a montage of clips from his decades of work, ranging from 1982’s “The Draughtman’s Contract” to 2018’s “The Greenaway Alphabet.”

The British filmmaker, who noted he was rejected by the prestigious Lodz film school while a student in the 1950s, posited that painting, with an 8,000-year history, is much further evolved than film. Still, he added, “cinema has an awful lot of time to catch up.”

Greenaway, who will present a talk on his approach to film, will be painting for two days at Torun’s Center of Contemporary Art in an exhibit alongside work by multimedia artist and director Saskia Boddeke.

The fest also honored Czech documentarian Helena Trestikova for her years-long studies of ordinary people in films like “Marcela,” “Rene” and “Marriage Stories,” as well as her most recent film, a look at director Milos Forman’s life and work “Forman vs. Forman.”

Polish actress Ewa Dalkowska, who has performed in more than 30 films since 1973 and who dared to criticize the state authorities during the days of martial law in Poland, was also honored at the gala, earning a standing ovation for her nuanced character roles.

Some 10 competitive sections will screen this week through Nov. 16, with films by students, music videos, debut cinematographers and directors, TV pilots, short and feature-length docus, Polish films and the 13 Camerimage main competition films.

Other honorees and guests in coming days will include Richard Gere, Edward Norton, screening main competition title “Motherless Brooklyn,” Darren Aronofsky, Quentin Tarantino and his cinematographer for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson, who will take the cinematographer-director duo award at the fest’s closer.

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