SVEN NYKVIST – Photography Director

(Moheda, Sweden, 1922 – 2006)

Born in Moheda, Smaland, Sweden, in 1922, in 1941 he began working at Sandrews as assistant operator. He debuted as responsible of photography in collaboration with O. Nordemar in the movie The sons of Mount Frostmo (1945) by R. Husberg and then by himself in Thirteen Chairs (1945) of B. Larsson. He quietly became known as the best operator of Swedish cinema of the 1940s and 50s. The revelation of his qualities took place in the moment he met Ingmar Bergman for whom he photographed the external scenes of Glyklamas Afton (a flame of love) (1953). Immediately after he collaborated with Alf Sjoberg in Barabbas (1953), Karin daughter of Man (1954), and still with Sjoberg and with Arne Mattson in Salka Valka (1954), The girl in a tuxedo (1956), and The lady in black (1958). Then with Bergman, The Virgin Spring (1959), Through a Glass Darkly (1961, Winter Lights (1963 ) all in black and white. Still with Bergman, Nykvist explores color with All These Women (1964). He goes back to black and white with Persona (1966) and Shame (1968). In Cries and Whispers (1972) color enters triumphantly with the dissolved endings of segments in deep red (rather than the usual black), with the delicate light that isolates the face of the suffering protagonist, with the soft green and brown colors of the park. Nykvist worked on twenty one movies by Bergman, among which Scenes from a Marriage (1973), The Magic Flute (1974) in which a golden light gives the mood of a fairy tale, Fanny and Alexander (1982). Nykvist was also a movie director and directed a few exotic documentaries and two movies: Linanbron (1965) and En och en (1977), the latter in collaboration with Erland Josephson and Ingrid Thulin. Other significant collaborations were with Louis Malle Dark Moon (1975) and Pretty Baby (1978); with Paul Mazursky Willie & Phil and I (1980); with Bob Rafelson, The Mailman Always Rings Twice for which he created intense and dramatic lighting, and with Bob Fosse for the movie Star (1983). He worked with V. Schlondorff on A Love of Swann (1983). He worked very little in advertising in the U.S.A. and in Italy only filmed one spot, Fisherman, for Barilla with Massimo Magrì.

Giuseppe Calzolari