WSPÓŁFINANSOWANIE: WOJEWÓDZTWO KUJAWSKO-POMORSKIE, MINISTER KULTURY I DZIEDZICTWA NARODOWEGO Z FUNDUSZU PROMOCJI KULTURY, POLSKI INSTYTUT SZTUKI FILMOWEJ, MIASTO BYDGOSZCZ ORAZ FILMOTEKA NARODOWA – INSTYTUT AUDIOWIZUALNY
AND THE CAMERIMAGE AWARD TO EDITOR GOES TO…
Tuesday October 2nd, 2018
Little Elliott and his charming extraterrestrial friend hurry on a bike through a bleak forest at dusk. Time is their enemy but the boy has to stop because of the increasingly bumpy road. Suddenly, the bike rushes forward as if it was possessed by some magic force, and despite Elliott’s vocal protests it rides fiercelly toward a cliff, then falls off it, only to ascend like a wingless bird a second later. In the background, we can hear the inspirational John Williams’s theme while the little man and even smaller alien fly over the treetops, admiring the world that stretches beneath them. The boy’s face is radiant with a mix of fascination and utter disbelief in what he sees. At the same time, the sequence’s atmosphere, infused with a profundity of a child’s limitless imagination, spreads to the viewer watching with admiration as the silhouettes of Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’s protagonists roam over the air against the backdrop of a gigantic moon. A few moments later Elliott’s excitement is replaced by soreness of his limbs when the bike hits the ground, but those seconds of celluloid magic stay with the viewers for many years. This is but one of hundreds of examples of the imaginative work done by Carol Littleton, this year’s recipient of Camerimage Award to Editor with Unique Visual Sensitivity.
Carol Littleton has been working in the film industry since the 1970s and tried her hand in a number of genres and cinematic conventions. In Justin Chadwick’s historical drama The Other Boleyn Girl she kept a close eye on the balance between the protagonists’ emotional fragility and the display of the sumptuous costume and production design. In the Great Depression-set Places in the Heart, directed by Robert Benton, she emphasized the characters’ struggles with the circumstances they had to live in, as well as their own humanity. Jeremiah S. Chechik’s erotically charged thriller Diabolique saw Littleton use images and sounds to create an almost tangible tension between the (anti)heroines and the rest of the world. In Lawrence Kasdan’s western Silverado she found a space for both gun-blazing action and character development, while in the same filmmaker’s Dreamcatcher she skillfully prepared the audiences for the unknown. Whereas in documentary/feature hybrid Swimming to Cambodia, directed by Jonathan Demme, she was able to focus the viewer’s attention for well over an hour on a monologuing man, and in Mick Jackson’s Tuesdays with Morrie she reinforced the film’s underlaying inspirational message.
Still from "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial"
Still from "The Manchurian Candidate"
Littleton was always attracted to the idea of durable editor-director relationships, thus though she has worked on nearly forty feature films, she shared almost a third of them with two filmmakers: Lawrence Kasdan and Jonathan Demme. With the former she made eight films, beginning with his debut Body Heat for which Kasdan hired her believing only a woman editor would be able to infuse the erotic scenes with a perfect amount of subtlety and visual refinement. For Demme she edited four pictures, including riveting political thriller The Manchurian Candidate in which our recipient’s work accentuated the growing paranoia while tentatively referencing John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, an undisputed classic of American film which Demme had reinterpreted. It could not be otherwise as Carol Littleton is a great admirer of masterpieces of world cinema, as well as an ardent supporter of digital reconstruction of great film works of yesteryear, including being a consultant on such restoration’s as Erich von Stroheim’s Greed, a legendary silent film almost forgotten by the contemporary world.
Still from "Body Heat"
Still from "The Other Boleyn Girl"
As a viewer, Carol Littleton above all appreciates simplicity, something which for some reason has become a hostile idea for countless contemporary filmmakers. As an editor, she simply wants to tell worthwhile stories, both with images and sounds, and with emotions and reflections, therefore she engages herself completely in each story, plot, and character she works with. Carol Littleton is an Academy Award® nominee (for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), Primetime Emmy Award winner (for Tuesdays with Morrie) and Eddie Award winner (for the daring political drama All the Way by Jay Roach), but what she always found the key element of her work was an honest response from the audience. Both the viewers from test screenings whose reactions made her go back to her studio and sculpt the story further in emotion and time, and the ones who shared their opinions long after the premieres making her realize how much her work has influenced people from different cultures and nationalities. We are honored that we will be able to host such a dedicated professional in Bydgoszcz during the 26th edition of Camerimage Film Festival (held between 10th and 17th November). Carol Littleton will not only accept the Award to Editor with Unique Visual Sensitivity but also meet the festivalgoers after the screening of one of her films.