Plus Camerimage Festival 2012: David Lynch
Posted on Tuesday November 27, 2012, 10:45 by Simon Braund in Under The Radar
Last night, David Lynch was treated to a rowdy, minutes-long standing ovation when he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for directing at the opening ceremony of the Plus Camerimage festival in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Earlier in the evening Lynch, a regular at the festival in recent years, was presented with the key to the city of Bydgoszcz by mayor Rafał Bruski. In a brief speech, Lynch described the honour as “dangerous”, although it’s doubtful that the key bestows any real civic powers on the recipient. (If it does, his first order of business should be to fix a few potholes).
Plus Camerimage, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is an international festival dedicated to the art of cinematography. Featuring a welter of event, including the main competition, in which nominees vie for the coveted Golden Frog award; and competitions for student films, documentary shorts and features, music videos, feature debuts and Polish films. It also boasts an extensive program of seminars and technical workshops from the likes of Panavision, Arri, Red and Zeiss. It has been held in the northern Polish city of Bydgoszsc (pronounced bid-gosht. Well, kind of) for the past three years, having moved from its previous home of Łódź in 2009. An extremely prestigious and highly-regarded affair, it serves as a forum for the world’s cinematographers to gather, talk shop, trade stories, moan about the state of the business and check out the latest technology, all on magnificent display at the festival’s nerve center, the Opera Nova opera house situated near the city’s picturesque old town on the Brda river. It’s the type of festival where you bump into Vilmos Zsigmond in the gents, where your view of proceedings is partially obscured by Joel Schumacher sitting in the row in front of you, and where David Lynch is treated like a rock star. Which is just as it should be. His acceptance of the lifetime achievement award was preceded by a beautifully crafted montage of scenes from his films, including rarely seen footage from early experimental works like The Grandmother and The Amputee. It was a reminder, if one were needed, that he is an artist of utterly unique brilliance.
The opening ceremony was further marked by a mesmerizing performance by chanteuse Chrysta Bell (Lynch’s musical collaborator since 2002) and a screening of the Christopher Kenneally-directed documentary Side By Side. A provocative and engrossing examination of the seismic impact of digital technology on moviemaking, it was introduced by producer and star Keanu Reeves. The film - a revelation to anyone who still has a sentimental attachment to celluloid - features interviews with such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan (a die hard champion of film), Danny Boyle, Anthony Dod Mantle (Oscar-winning cinematographer for Slumdog Millionaire), James Cameron, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh and, of course, David Lynch, who admits, rather shockingly, that he has pretty much abandoned film entirely. All of the interviews were conducted by Reeves, many of them at CamerImage 2010.
Tomorrow, he and Joel Schumacher will be hosting a seminar titled The Future Of Film - which refers, one hopes, to the physical medium rather than the art form itself which, as Camerimage amply demonstrates, is alive and well. If bloody chilly!