HOMAGE TO WOJCIECH STAROŃ
THE TRADES OF CINEMA
This year, the section THE TRADES OF CINEMA zeroes in on one of the most crucial figures in the world of the moving images, a role that requires exceptional expressive capacity and strong artistic qualities – the director of photography. Our guide to this art – which not uncommonly implies a close technical and artistic collaboration between the film director and the cinematographer – is Wojciech Staroń. His work has often been a display of this alliance, testifying to how the encounter of film direction and photography in one individual produces extraordinary poetry and beauty and induces heightened identification in the stories and characters portrayed. Staroń and his lens draw us into another world. They seduce us to the point that we are absorbed in the images, and the viewers’ selves blend into the inner lives revealed on the silver screen. The stories, characters, and places are as real as the beauty of their imperfections, described with great accuracy to the tiniest details. A hand, a glance, a lock of hair, or a little daily gesture become key elements to get the story through, evoking complex inner universes. This perceptiveness proves particularly effective when the director/cinematographer deals with children: when looking at them running wildly in a field, swimming in the river, inventing games, or experiencing embarrassment at school, he is capable of recreating the spontaneity and innocence of childhood, including its delicate quality.
On the other hand, if the power and magic of reality come from the powerful and authentic emotions that reality arouses, then Staron’s camera proves loyal to this assumption. It operates within reality, returning even the tiniest fragment of the emotions experienced in every film frame. In this passage, animated by an overwhelming vital flow, every film is a journey: from a poor, impervious Siberia with fiancée Malgorzata (Siberian Lesson) to the highest peaks of the Bolivian Andes with Father Casimiro (El Misionero), from Poland’s remote, poverty-stricken countryside (For a While) to Argentina’s province of Misiones with all his family (Argentinean Lesson). The journey can become an escape, as in El Premio or Refugiado, in search of a place of safety from the world’s brutality. Each of these journeys was not only a movement in space but also an experience of the soul, a coming of age story, and a parable of growth and change. With each, we overcome obstacles and fears, and feel the joy of a new discovery. Staroń’s camera is always an attentive, close, and empathic – as he calls it – witness of these both external and inner movements, projecting on the big screen the universe of the emotions of his characters as well as those of their chronicler.
Sandra Binazzi, Claudia Maci
Curators of "The Trades of Cinema"
THE TRADES OF CINEMA: HOMAGE TO WOJCIECH STAROŃ