The Swiss director of photography Carlo Varini deceased in France
by Muriel del Don
- Varini was killed in a fire on the night of 17-18 May 2014
Carlo Varini, the Swiss director of photography from Ticino, was killed in a fire on the night of 17-18 May 2014.
Born in Ascona (Ticino) in 1946, Carlo Varini started his career with technical training at the Schwarz-film studio in Ostermundigen (Bern), continuing his studies at the arts academy in Zurich, where he took various film classes. Between 1970 and 1980, he was assistant to Renato Berta (winner of the prestigious “Deutscher kameraspreis”), working on twenty or so feature length films by emblematic directors from the “new Swiss cinema” movement, including Alain Tanner, Claude Goretta and Michel Soutter.
His artistic emancipation started thanks to his collaboration with Luc Besson, who he met during a co-production process, while the French director was a director’s intern. Carlo Varini was then asked by Besson to shoot his first feature length film Le dernier combat (1983). Together, they made two more films: Subway (1986) and famous The Big Blue (1989). His work on these two feature length films earned him two respective César nominations for best photography.
His great savoir-faire illuminated highly aesthetic films like The Chorus [+see also:
film profile] by Christophe Barratier and Coeur animal [+see also:
film profile] by Séverine Cornamusaz (winner of the Quartz for best Swiss film in 2010). Some of the films he collaborated on were selected in prestigious international festivals: Genesis by Mrial Sent in Cannes 1986, Bankolmatt by Willy Hermann in Berlin in 1989 and L’élève and Fortune Express by Olivier Schatzky in Locarno.
Settled in Paris in 1978, he was a professor at Fémis and a member of the French association of photography directors (AFC). Recently, he worked as director of photography on Mirage d’amour avec fanfare [+see also:
interview: Hubert Toint
film profile] by Hubert Toint, a Belgian director, actor and producer (Saga Film). The film is a love story between a pianist and a trumpeter in Chile in the 1920s, with union battles as backdrop.
Carlo Varini leaves us, but the precision of his gaze will continue to strongly affect the international cinema landscape.
(Translated from French)