Sven Nykvist

Sven Nykvist, sadly, is no longer the world’s greatest living cinematographer.

I am both extremely proud and terribly ashamed to be the author of Curtain Call, Mr. Nykvist’s last film. He was very kind to me, a young, unproven whippersnapper, and everyone else on our crew.  He told me a funny story about working with Tarkovsky and expressed, with total good humor, his frustration with working with Woody Allen.  My pathetic excuse for a romantic comedy was far below the typical material he worked with and I feel blessed to not only have had him shoot my script, but to actually have lit me for a cameo scene.

I knew that he was a great cinematographer when I was working with him, but like the philistine I am I did not see his work with Bergman until long after we parted ways. Had I seen, for instance, Through a Glass Darkly before I met him I doubt I would have been able to look him in the eye, I would have been too ashamed to work with so great an artist.
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4 Responses to “Sven Nykvist”
  1. craigjclark says:

    Nykvist will definitely be missed.

  2. You’re very lucky, Todd. I’m saddened by the news — though he was indeed 84 years old and had a good run.

    Looking over his IMDb credits again, I am, as always, stunned at how many films he shot that I never remember were his — of course, I remember the Bergman films (Persona, Hour of the Wolf, Shame, and Passion of Anna being my favorites for both him and the director), and Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice, and the Woody Allen movies . . . but I never remember that he shot (beautifully, distinctly, and diversely) Polanski’s The Tenant, Malle’s Pretty Baby, Fosse’s Star 80, and Kaufman’s Unbearable Lightness of Being, among many others. Jesus. I wish I had even one of his films to watch right now, but I’m stunned to see I don’t.

  3. urbaniak says:

    Good lord. Two days ago I was talking about him with the D.P. on “Kidnapped.” In fact, I mentioned that I had a friend who had worked with him.