In a few days we’ll be kicking-off 10 Days of Robert Altman, and, as luck would have it, June 16th happens to be the birthdate of Altman’s favorite cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond.
Zsigmond was as much a rebel as was Altman – he shot out-of-focus, in smoke-filled rooms by kerosene lamp, using composite reflections though windows and in mirrors, and water – lots of water. He had hundreds of ways to shoot water.
He broke every rule in the standard cinematographers’ catechism – and caught much flack for it early in his career. Then people began to catch on. This was a new visual language, an impressionistic wash that Zsigmond applied that elevated the films – and the directors he worked for – into a unique category, all their own.
The Hungarian-born Zsigmond passed away in 2016, but not before he was named one of the ten most influential cinematographers in film history. One cannot imagine cinema in the Seventies and Eighties without him.
Have a look at the sampling below.