You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Poetic Lensing Accents Horrors of Czech Republic’s ‘The Painted Bird’

After debuting in competition at the Venice Film Festival, Václav Marhoul’s “The Painted Bird,” which is the Czech Republic’s submission for this year’s best international film Oscar category, has gone on to great acclaim, much of it focused on the extraordinary cinematographic work of Czech DP Vladimir Smutny.

His stunning black-and white-lensing for the film, capturing both the splendid, timeless nature of dramatic Eastern European and Ukrainian landscapes and the barbaric human behavior of its World War II-set tale, has garnered awards on the festival circuit, including kudos from the Camerimage Festival in Poland and the Chicago Intl. Film Festival.

Variety’s Guy Lodge noted, “‘The Painted Bird’ is inarguably effective and immersive, its hard, unyielding gaze backed up by the muscularity of its craft. The clean-lined elegance of Smutný’s compositions — which often render human scuffles small against expansive natural backdrops — evoke a disinterested world that will endure whatever our burdened protagonist’s fate.”

In his five-star review of the film in The Guardian, Xan Brooks calls “The Painted Bird, “a film that makes a mockery of star ratings…a monumental piece of work” and praises Smutny’s contribution:

Popular on Variety

”Judged purely on visual terms, “The Painted Bird” is gorgeous: a lush black-and-white tour of birch forests and bulrushes and remote rustic hamlets. Judged as drama, it is brazenly brutal, a pitiless chronicle of a land red in tooth and claw, so steeped in primitive suspicions that it’s startling to suddenly see a 20th-century plane or a truck…”

Smutny’s 50-year body of work was recognized with the prestigious President’s Award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival earlier this year, an honor that noted his record of seven Czech Lion Awards (his nation’s equivalent of the Oscars) for cinematography. Smutny is perhaps best-known in the West for his work on the 1996 foreign-language film Oscar-winner, Jan Svěrák’s “Kolya.” “Painted Bird” marks the celebrated DP’s third collaboration with director Marhoul.

More Artisans

  • VFX Studio Framestore Launches Suite of

    VFX, Animation Studio Framestore Launches Pre-Production Services Unit (EXCLUSIVE)

    Visual effects and animation studio Framestore, which won Oscars for “The Golden Compass,” “Gravity” and “Blade Runner 2049,” and whose recent work includes “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in movies, and “His Dark Materials” and “Watchmen” in TV, has launched FPS, which offers a suite of pre-production services. The move sees the company’s [...]

  • Mark Lanza

    Mark Lanza Elected as New President of Motion Picture Sound Editors

    The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) has elected Mark Lanza as president. Lanza succeeds Tom McCarthy. He previously served as treasurer to the organization and begins his two-year term in January. Lanza has been a sound professional for 30 years and is credited on more than 250 feature films and television shows including “Born on [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari BTS

    'Ford V Ferrari' Wins Top Prize at 56th Annual CAS Awards

    James Mangold’s “Ford V Ferrari” won the Outstanding Sound Mixing Motion Picture Award at the 56th CAS Awards. The film’s sound mixing team Steven A. Morrow, CAS; Paul Massey, CAS; David Giammarco, CAS;Tyson Lozensky, David Betancourt, and Richard Duarte were on hand to accept the award. Mangold had an extra reason to celebrate the night [...]

  • American Factory

    'American Factory' Editor Had to Cut Down 2,000 Hours of Footage

    Editor Lindsay Utz admits filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert never fully counted the hours of footage shot for the Oscar-nominated documentary “American Factory,” but she puts it close to 2000 hours. Utz pored over the footage that Bognar and Reichert had spent over three years filming and whittled the story down to just under [...]

  • Cinematographer Roger Deakins poses for a

    Roger Deakins Wins ASC Award for '1917'

    Roger Deakins has won the top feature award from the American Society of Cinematographers. The win for “1917” marked his fifth win from the society. The evening kicked off with the ASC Opening reel highlighting cinematography, followed by the first award of the night for Documentary. “Joker” director Todd Phillips presented the inaugural Documentary Award [...]

  • Tesla Movie Sundance

    Five Artisans Talk About Their Work on Buzzy Sundance Titles

    At this year’s Sundance, 118 features will make their debut. Here are five hotly anticipated films that will be in the mix and some of the artisans behind them.  Bad Hair (Midnight) Costume designer Ceci reconnects with Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) on a satirical horror set in 1989 Los Angeles, where ambitious Anna (Elle [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content