It’s not every day when an Academy Award-winning cinematographer visits Central New York. So it will be a special occasion indeed for a visit from Hungary’s Vilmos Zsigmond, who will appear as part of the Syracuse International Film Festival’s ongoing “FilmTalks” series on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Le Moyne College.
Born in 1930, the director of photography was on hand to film the Hungarian revolution in 1956 Budapest, then left the country afterward for work in Los Angeles. Zsigmond was behind the camera for a number of 1960s low-budget drive-in flicks with marquee-bait titles such as Psycho A Go-Go and The Name of the Game is Kill.
In the 1970s, however, Zsigmond’s work was associated with a steady stream of bona fide auteurs, including Steven Spielberg (The Sugarland Express and Zsigmond’s Oscar-winning lensing of Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Robert Altman (McCabe and Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye) and John Boorman (Deliverance). Zsigmond’s widescreen cinematography on those films, as well as Cinderella Liberty, Scarecrow and The Deer Hunter, defined his filmic techniques of merging dazzling colors and lighting with the auteurs’ often vibrant storytelling. “All films should be visual,” Zsigmond said in one interview. “If you don’t have good images, it’s not going to be a film.”
At Le Moyne, Zsigmond will give a presentation featuring film clips, followed by a question-answer session. For area film buffs, this is a very big deal.
Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond will speak on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m., at Le Moyne College’s Coyne Center for the Performing Arts, 1419 Salt Springs Road. Tickets are $10. Call 671-2188 for details.