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‘Roma,’ ‘A Star Is Born,’ ‘First Man’ Vie for Prize at EnergaCamerimage

The EnergaCamerimage fest’s main lineup, its competition for best cinematographer, covers a vast range of styles, and honors several fresh visual stylists along with many legends in the field.

As festival director Marek Zydowicz puts it, this year’s selection “was particularly tough because of the variety of visual means used to enhance the stories being told. I am still amazed of the number of possibilities modern equipment give to cinematographers to complete their vision without going to any compromise.”

With entries shot in monochrome and others “sparkling with color,” he says, “we have films presenting different points of view, cultures, ways of living.”

Those screening represent films gleaned from “quite a long, long list of films” by veteran cinematographers, “and the lesser known but truly beautiful artists of light and camera who astonished me with their visions.”

In addition, the fest’s traditional audience, consisting of a high portion of rising filmmakers and below-the-line creatives, are set to benefit from the experiences of expert 11 lensers, who will be taking questions following their screenings in the outsize Opera Nova hall.

The sleek, rounded musical hall, which dominates the skyline of the Polish town of Bydgoszcz, will see audiences jostling for the chance to quiz Alfonso Cuaron, cinematographer, writer and director of the filmic showcase “Roma,” a feature widely expected to bring new recognition for artistry to its producer and online distributor, Netflix. The streaming giant, which has yet to win a best picture Oscar nom, looks to be betting on Cauron’s lush black-and-white study of family, community and memory in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma district to form a beachhead.

Coen Brothers regular Bruno Delbonnel, who filmed “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” will also present the highly stylized western at EnergaCamerimage, revealing some of the strategies that go into the distinctive, comedic and over-the-top shots and cuts that make up the third feature in the genre by two of Hollywood’s most iconic indies.

The film, an anthology adapted from the Coens’ Netflix series that follows a singing sharpshooter, advances to visual ground even more otherworldly than that captured in “No Country for Old Men” and “True Grit,” forming as much tribute to more traditional westerns of old as a sendup of their storytelling conventions.

Matthew Libatique, meanwhile, is expected to be characteristically frank and confessional in his discussion of “A Star Is Born,” the surprise hit directorial debut by Bradley Cooper and starring Lady Gaga he filmed in an entirely new vision of the 1976 pop music romance hit. A DP known for exploring and exploding the traditions of filmmaking, has been blazing trails since his breakout film, 1998’s “Pi,” made with director Darren Aronofsky.

Dick Pope, Mike Leigh’s lenser for period piece “Peterloo,” about a historically overlooked massacre of demonstrators in early 18th-century Manchester, will discuss what went into creating the lush visuals of the film. They build upon his striking earlier period pieces in both non-fiction and fiction, “Mr. Turner” and “The Illusionist.”

The latest period film shot by Benoit Delhomme, DP on Julian Schnabel’s portrait of Vincent van Gogh, “At Eternity’s Gate,” will prompt questions on creating worlds and times apart, as he did while filming Stephen Hawking biopic “The Theory of Everything” and the Depression-era gang tale “Lawless.”

Ji Yong Kim, who filmed “The Fortress,” Hwang Dong-hyuk’s story of the 17th-century invasion of a Korean empire, is known for a much more gritty, urban look as seen in his past picture “A Bittersweet Life” and for the fantastical world he filmed in 2017’s “Okja,” Joon-Ho Bong’s fairytale taking on animal abuse and exploitation.

Cinematographer Linus Sandgren, who filmed Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” will reveal insights into capturing the claustrophobia of astronauts in the early space race, while triple Oscar winner Vittorio Storaro, who often lectures on the physical power of color and light, will doubtless cite important art influences in discussing “A Rose In Winter,” his film on Edith Stein’s heroic stand against Nazi repression written and directed by Joshua Sinclair.

“The Favourite” lenser, Robbie Ryan, also known for “American Honey” and “Slow West,” will present this film by Yorgos Lanthimos about Queen Anne’s shaky rule in England while David Ungaro, DP on “A Prayer Before Dawn” by Jean-Stephane Sauvaire, will discuss that film’s true-story depiction of a British boxer’s ultimate bout with a Thai prison sentence.

Cinematographer for the Polish submission to the Oscars “Cold War,” Lukas Zal, will talk on the powerful retro imagery of this monochrome romance set during communism’s darkest days, likely comparing the work to the stark imagery of his previous collaboration with director Pawel Pawlikowski, the Oscar-winning “Ida.”

Two main competition cinematographers audiences will not meet this year are Paul Thomas Anderson, better known as the writer-director of “Phantom Thread,” and Pal Ulvik Rokseth, who shot the story of real-life Anders Breivik mass shooting “22 July” for Paul Greengrass.

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