Johnny Depp to Be Honored at Camerimage, ‘Minamata’ to Close Film Festival

Leo Barraclough
·3-min read

Johnny Depp will be awarded the Camerimage Award for “an actor with unique visual sensitivity” at the EnergaCamerimage Film Festival. “Minamata,” starring Depp, will be the closing film of the 28th edition of the event, which focuses on cinematography.

Due to the pandemic, Depp will be unable to accept the award in person, but will connect to the ceremony remotely from the U.S. Depp has appeared in person at other fall festivals, including Zurich and San Sebastian, but COVID-19 levels have now risen across Europe.

The screening of “Minamata,” which was directed by Andrew Levitas and shot by cinematographer Benoît Delhomme, will take place on Nov. 21 in Toruń’s Jordanki Festival Center, following the closing gala and awards ceremony. The festival announced its competition lineup at the weekend, which includes critics’ favorites “Ammonite” and “Nomadland.”

“Minamata,” Levitas’ sophomore feature, tells the story of how war photographer W. Eugene Smith fought to expose the negligence of a powerful corporation dumping toxic chemicals into a river near the Japanese city of Minamata.

The festival said in a statement: “Smith’s trail of tears to document the effects mercury poisoning had on the people was captured in beautiful yet artistic and subtle tones [by Delhomme], producing yet another film that is visually astounding and emotionally evocative at the same time.”

Commenting on Depp’s performance the festival said: “To say that [he] immersed himself completely in the role of W. Eugene Smith would be a gross understatement. He literally disappeared into his true-to-life character, making the famed photographer yet another in a series of mesmerizing performances that captured the attention of the worldwide audience.”

In films from his breakthrough role in “Edward Scissorhands” to the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise the actor had “earned himself a reputation of a true acting chameleon capable of handling basically everything that the screenwriters, directors, costume designers, make-up artists and others threw at him,” the festival said.

Among other roles the festival cited were his “oddball interpretation” of the gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and “the cute-and-cuckoo” pirate Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” as well as his performances in “Finding Neverland,” in which Depp played James Matthew Barrie, and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” where he starred as the “sinister barber with a taste for anything macabre.”

Other roles mentioned included those of the romantic lead in “Don Juan DeMarco,” the gangster John Dillinger in “Public Enemies,” the enthusiastically terrible film director Edward D. Wood Jr. in “Ed Wood,” and the terrifying criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.”

The festival said he was “an artist of many faces and talents as well as an actor who is very sensitive to the visual language of film. In other words, a person we feel we have a responsibility to award for their input into the world of film.”

The festival’s Main Competition lineup, which was announced Saturday, emphasizes the contribution of the cinematographer. Due to the large number of cinematographers that attend the festival who are Academy members, the section can be seen as an indicator of some of the front runners in the cinematography category of the Oscars.

Main Competition

“Ammonite”
Director: Francis Lee; cinematographer: Stéphane Fontaine

“The Banker”
Director: George Nolfi; cinematographer: Charlotte Bruus Christensen

“Caged Birds”
Director: Oliver Rihs; cinematographer: Felix Von Muralt

“Charlatan”
Director: Agnieszka Holland; cinematographer: Martin Štrba

“Falling”
Director: Viggo Mortensen; cinematographer: Marcel Zyskind

“The Glorias”
Director: Julie Taymor; cinematographer: Rodrigo Prieto

“Helene”
Director: Antti J. Jokinen; cinematographer: Rauno Ronkainen

“Never Gonna Snow Again”
Director: Małgorzata Szumowska; cinematographer: Michał Englert

“Nomadland”
Director: Chloé Zhao; cinematographer: Joshua James Richards

“Pinocchio”
Director: Matteo Garrone; cinematographer: Nicolaj Brüel

“Rifkin’s Festival”
Director: Woody Allen; cinematographer: Vittorio Storaro

“While at War”
Director: Alejandro Amenábar; cinematographer: Álex Catalán

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