Cinematographer and film producer, born 1965 in Kluczbork.
Reinhart studied at the Łódź Film School in 1989-1992. He started from directing, but moved to the third year of cinematography after the first year and so graduated one year earlier than the School's students normally do. It was already as a student that he worked as assistant cameraman on documentary and feature films in which Paweł Edelman was the director of photography. He also worked with the cinematographer Witold Sobociński and the directors Marcel Łoziński and Paweł Łoziński on their feature films.
Reinhart's first stand-alone cinematographic project was Paweł Łoziński's documentary Miejsce urodzenia / Birthplace (1992) and his first such assignment on a feature was Piotr Łazarkiewicz's Pora na czarownice / A Time for Witches (1993). Since 1994 he has regularly worked with Dorota Kędzierzawska on her feature films, contributing to their successes, and has occasionally done assignments in Germany and the USA. Reinhart has quite often been not only the photographer but a cameraman, too, and sometimes the editor as well. Recently he and Kędzierzawska set up a producing company to make independent films.
Reinhart is a holder of many major photography awards, including Golden Frog at Camerimage - International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography for photography for Wrony / The Crows. He is a two-times winner of the photography award at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia (for Nic / Nothing in 1998 and for Jestem / I Am in 2005) and, most importantly, of the Eagle Polish Film Award for Jestem.
Reinhart is one of those cinematographers whose work is easily recognizable, and the esthetic side matters a lot to him:
Having your own style is like having your own personality. When I get a script to read I immediately have ideas for the images. The visualization of the story comes easy to me. Working with directors, I always tell them how I see things and they decide if this is the film they want (discussion at Film&TV Kamera 4/2005).
Reinhart, who understands the cinematographer's job as a process of changing visions into image, is far from being fascinated with the technological advances in this area and sees technology as a servant of ideas:
The deeper you go into technology, the less remains of those natural impulses you have when standing behind the camera. Sometimes the cameraman gets so preoccupied with technology which he needs to control that the mission, the goal he is pursuing is eluding him … I am fascinated by the ideas of transposing the vision in your head into an image with the use of diverse technologies (an interview taken by Marzena Wiśniewska, Reżyser 1/1996).
The success of Wrony, Reinhart's first assignment on a film by Dorota Kędzierzawska, marked the start of their long-term co-operation. The special style of Kędzierzawska's features, which address issues typical of the socially involved cinema yet do so in a language which is more poetic than realistic, is to a large extent Reinhart's credit. The images, serving to build the atmosphere and to paint portraits of the characters, are of key importance. Indeed, they are the primary channel of communication, for words are very scarce in Kędzierzawska's films.It was this particular characteristic that turned Wrony into a success. The critics appreciated the camera art and the harmony of the image and the message. The beautifully shot empty spaces, the vast expanse of the sea, the empty beach conveyed the loneliness of the deserted little heroine of Wrony. "The filling of the shots with vast spaces - water, sand, the sky - has helped to capture this special kind of absence which hurts the heroine so much", wrote Katarzyna Jabłońska (Więź 2/1995).
After Nic - Kędzierzawska's next film - the critics' opinion was, however, divided. Some (for instance Jan Olszewski - Film 10/1998 or Jerzy Żurek - Przekrój 44/1998) could not accept the shocking clash of the beauty of Reinhart's photography with the grim drama about a child's murderer. Others praised this beauty, stressing its uniqueness and refinement, while recognizing the gloom conveyed through grey, black and - to use Reinhart's term - silver-brown hues (Cinema 6/2006). Bożena Janicka (Kino 10/1998) saw in them an unrealistic and unnerving beauty processed from ugliness - perhaps an over-interpretation of the film's message. Kevin Reynolds, whose reaction was similar, offered Reinhart a job on his Tristan and Isolde because of spotting 'the sensitivity and melancholy combined with a dose of murkiness that I would like to see in ‘Tristan and Isolde' ' (quoted after Dziennik, 10th June 2006, a story signed Daga).
Including even some battle scenes, Reynolds's film was a challenge to Reinhart who until then had worked only on small-scale productions. He remained, however, faithful to his style, and beautiful and murky photography added depth to Tristan and Isolde. Says Reinhart: "I focused my attention on the key figures of the battle. The bloodbath was filmed by two other crews under my supervision" ("Film" 6 /2006).
The photography of Nic impressed also Michael Nyman, the composer of film music, who saw in it "an amazing combination of beauty, suffering and visual sensitivity" (from an interview taken by Robert Kalinowski, "Tygodnik Powszechny", 14th November 2005) - so much so that he offered to compose the soundtrack for Kędzierzawska's next film. And so Jestem / I Am has music by Nyman.
Reinhart's photography here is more realistic than in his and Kędzierzawska's previous projects, but not completely so.
We wanted, says Reinhard, for a film which tells the true story of a boy living a lonely, independent life among people to do so creatively from start to end - to avoid making a documentary (Film&TV. Kamera 4/2005).
Like in Wrony and Nic, the photography of Jestem is considerably and deliberately estheticized. What is different is that the camera is closer to the characters, and that produces a sort of realism.
This was done on purpose. When Kundel runs, the camera follows him, says Kędzierzawska. We talked for hours about the artistic side of the film and concluded that the shots should 'breathe', should be immanently ascribed to the main character. Discreetly, hardly noticeably (from an interview taken by Łukasz Maciejewski, Tygodnik Powszechny 9th November 2005).
To achieve this effect, they suspended the camera on rubber strips and various sophisticated structures so that it could continuously follow the boy playing the part of Kundel. Reinhart confessed in an interview for Stopklatka (13th November 2005) that he used to a large extent the ideas of Janusz Kamiński, in particular modelled the structures on those he used when shooting the scene of the landing in Normandy in Saving Private Ryan.
However, the nostalgic nature of the golden autumnal open air photographs are an evident beautification of the visual side, and so this Kędzierzawska and Reinhart's film faced similar charges to Nic. "Kędzierzawska's problem", observes Małgorzata Sadowska, "is that all the strengths of her films are also their most serious weaknesses" ("Przekrój", 45/2005).
As before, it is about the dissonance between the Reinhart-specific esthetization and the drama of the subject-matter. Sadowska continues her blunt critique:
Once again, the adults cause harm and indifference is the response to the suffering of the children. Once again, the story of the harm is told with hardly any words, somewhere outside a specific place or time, against the backdrop of a beautiful, sepia-coloured autumn. If such 'perfuming of misfortune' is Kędzierzawska's way of avoiding the temporariness of journalistic accounts, this road leads her astray. The sophisticated beauty of the photographs dampens all emotions like a Persian carpet; the unreality of the film's world undermines the credibility of the story; and Michael Nyman's irritating music takes everything into the regions of sentimental banality. 'Jestem' has seemed to me liked a yellowed photograph from the past that may become a stylish decoration, but nobody will care about the dead life it shows. But I may be wrong here. As Kędzierzawska has made the same film she always did, it will probably be liked by those who always liked it (Małgorzata Sadowska, Przekrój, 45/2005).
Originally Jestem was to be photographed black and white rather than in the "beautiful autumn's sepia", but the natural beauty of locations and the lovely weather made the film team change their mind. Kędzierzawska and Reinhart revisited the black-and-white colour scheme, though, in Pora umierać / Time to Die, a low-key portrait of an old, wrinkled woman who is a wonderful person, starring Danuta Szaflarska.
The duo are currently working on Jutro będzie lepiej, another - after Wrony and Jestem - picture about lonely children left to their own resources, this time three little Russians.
Although Reinhart has worked with other directors - mostly in Western Europe - none of those assignments has helped to develop his talent as much as the films by Dorota Kędzierzawska have. He was the cinematographer on Tristan and Isolde and on a fantasy series Children of Dune, but it did not give him much satisfaction, he says. Of note is Krzysztof Lang's Prowokator, one of the few features by other Polish directors, which Reinhart photographed in extremely difficult mountain conditions. However, considering various future options, Reinhart does not even rule out assignments on action films and expresses his admiration for Stuart Dryburgh's cinematography on Lee Tamahori's Once Were Warriors. Says Reinhart,
"Contrary to the popular opinion, I like quick editing and do not feel boxed within one film category. As a student of the Łódź Film School I did a few school films which fitted within the ‘action film' group" (from an interview taken by Irena Stanisławska, "Film" 6/2006).
Filmography - cinematographer
- 1988 - Top - Art, dir. Michał Zabłocki.
- 1989 - Elegia dla jednej pani, jointly with Krzysztof Hejke, Romuald Lewandowski, Bartłomiej Maj, Wanda Pietrzak, Jerzy Salamon, dir. Dariusz Jabłoński.
- 1989 - Ręce, dir. Michał Zabłocki.
- 1989 - Wrony, dir. Rainer Schaupp.
- 1990 - Wege-Bereiter. Erinnerung an Jerzy Bossak, dir. Rainer Schaupp.
- 1991 - Godzina, dir. Michał Zabłocki.
- 1991 - Podróż, dir. Paweł Łoziński.
- 1991 - Zbieg, also co-director (with Michał Zabłocki)
Documentaries and short films
- 1990 - Widmo, jointly with Andrzej Czeranowski, dir. Witold Iwaszkiewicz.
- 1992 - Miejsce urodzenia / Birthplace, dir. Paweł Łoziński.
- 1993 - 89 mm od Europy,/ 89 mm from Europe, jointly with Jacek Petrycki, dir. Marcel Łoziński.
- 1995 - 100 lat w kinie / 100 Years of Polish Cinema, dir. Paweł Łoziński.
- 1995 - Wszystko może się przytrafić / Anything Can Happen, dir. Marcel Łoziński.
- 2007 - A gdyby tak się stało / If It Happens, jointly with Jacek Bławut, dir. Marcel Łoziński.
- 1993 - Pora na czarownice / A Time for Witches, dir. Piotr Łazarkiewicz.
- 1993 - Taranthriller, jointly with Paweł Edelman, dir. Mirosław Dembiński.
- 1994 - Wrony / The Crows, also co-editor (with Dorota Kędzierzawska), dir. Dorota Kędzierzawska. Awards: 1994 - "Non Stop Servis Award" at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; Golden Frog for photography at Cameraimage - International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, Łódź; 1996 - Golden Poznań Goat for cinematograpy at the 14th edition of the International Young Audience Film Festival in Poznań.
- 1995 - Prowokator, also as the cameraman, dir. Krzysztof Lang.
- 1997 - Bandyta / Brute, jointly with Marcin Prokop, dir. Maciej Dejczer.
- 1997 - Für immer und immer, dir. Hark Bohm.
- 1998 - Nic / Nothing, also the editor and co-producer (with Dorota Kędzierzawska), dir. Dorota Kędzierzawska. Awards: 1998 - for the best photography at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; for the greatest Festival Individuality at the Toronto Festival.
- 2003 - Children of Dune / Dzieci diuny, dir. Greg Yaitanes.
- 2005 - Jestem / I Am, also the producer, co-editor (with Dorota Kędzierzawska); dir. Dorota Kędzierzawska. Awards: 2005 - for photography at the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia; Grand Prix at the Polish Film Review of Cameraimage - International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography in Łódź; 2006 -Eagle - The Polish Film Award for the best photography of 2005.
- 2005 - Tristan and Isolde / Tristan i Izolda, dir. Kevin Reynolds.
- 2007 - Pora umierać / Time to Die, also the producer, co-editor (with Dorota Kędzierzawska), set designer (with Albina Barańska), dir. Dorota Kędzierzawska.
- 2008 - Jutro będzie lepiej, dir. Dorota Kędzierzawska - under way
- Artur Reinhart was involved in the making of two etudes - Łukasz Zadrzyński's Szpital wojskowy (1988) and Rainer Schaupp's Piątkowe wydarzenia (1989), assisted at the camerawork on Witold Iwaszkiewicz's TV show Skąd krasnoludki wzięły swoje czerwone kapturki? (1989) (photography by Krzysztof Hejke) and on Rainer Schaupp's etude Czas na granicy (1991) (photography by Krzysztof Hejke). He was the cameraman on the following features: Frank Beyer's Das letzte U-Boot / Ostatni U-Boot (1993, photography by Witold Sobociński), Łukasz Karwowski's Novembre (1992, photography by Paweł Edelman), Władysław Pasikowski's Psy / Pigs (1992, photography by Paweł Edelman) and did special photographs for Sławomir Idziak's Enak (1992, photography by Andrzej J. Jaroszewicz).
Author: Ewa Nawój, August 2008