Two-time Oscar nominated Italian cinematographer Dante Spinotti will receive this year’s Pardo Alla Carriera Achievement Award at August’s 74th Locarno Film Festival. Locarno will also host screenings of two of Spinotti’s standout films resulting from his long-time partnership with director Michael Mann: Oscar-nominated “The Insider” and classic heist thriller “Heat.” Spinotti will receive the prize in a ceremony at the Piazza Grande on Aug. 12, and hold an audience-led conversation the following day.
Spinotti’s prolific and consistent output has crossed genres and cinematic trends for four decades. His feature debut work was in Sergio Citti’s “Il minestrone” in 1981, but he was quickly off to Hollywood where he made an impact with the diversity and quality of his efforts, working on films like Sam Raimi’s Western “The Quick and the Dead,” Garry Marshall’s rom-com “Frankie and Johnny” starring Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Brett Ratner’s superhero flick “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
Spinotti has twice been nominated for Academy Awards for his work on “The Insider” and “L.A. Confidential.” The latter was also nominated for a BAFTA that year, an award Spinotti was previously nominated for with 1992’s “The Last of the Mohicans.”
While Spinotti is perhaps best known for his work on major box office fare, he has consistently found time for more independent, auteur work, partnering with the likes of Ermanno Olmi (“The Legend of the Holy Drinker,” “The Secret of the Old Woods”), Lina Wertmüller (“Sotto… Sotto”) to Peter Bogdanovich (“Illegally Yours”).
His work remains as relevant and multi-faceted as ever. Recent efforts include popcorn fare like Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and Dwayne Johnson-starrer “Hercules,” as well as 2019’s Anthony Hopkins-led “Now is Everything,” a competition player at Tallinn Black Nights and Torino, and Deon Taylor’s “Black and Blue” with Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson.
“Dante Spinotti is a master of light and a figurehead of Italian excellence: in effect, an auteur DP,” said Giona A. Nazzaro, artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival. “After working with directors such as Sergio Citti and Aldo Lado, Salvatore Samperi and Liliana Cavani, Spinotti went to Hollywood, where his collaboration with Michael Mann rewrote the aesthetic codes of contemporary noir among several other genres – works which stand as some of the most admired U.S. films of recent decades.
“As artist and craftsman, Spinotti experimented ceaselessly, working between the States and Italy with directors as diverse as Sam Raimi and Ermanno Olmi, Giuseppe Tornatore and Barbra Streisand. Equally at ease with intimate psychological reality or the world of fantasy, he also impressed his distinctive style on superhero movies,” Nazzaro went on.
Celebrating Dante Spinotti means paying homage to a huge talent of cinematography, an artist who changed our way of perceiving moving pictures on the big screen, he argued. “Without Dante Spinotti’s immense contribution, the cinema would be poorer and less beautiful. To celebrate Dante Spinotti is both a privilege and a joy,” Nazzaro concluded.
This year’s Locarno Festival will take place Aug. 4 – 14, with organizers working to establish stringent health and sanitation guidelines for the in-person event.