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Biography

Swedish cinematographer and director. Born as Sven Wilhelm Nykivst in Moheda, Kronoberg. Died in Stockholm. He was employed at the Sandrew studio 1941-1959 and Svensk Filmindustri 1959-1970.-Sven Nykvist spent his childhood at a boarding school for the children of missionaries in the Stockholm suburb of Lidingö while his parents were away in the Congo. His father, a keen amateur photographer, passed on his interests to his son at an early age. Nykvist got his first film job with Sandrews at the age of 19, and made his debut as a cameraman with the children's...

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Biography

Swedish cinematographer and director. Born as Sven Wilhelm Nykivst in Moheda, Kronoberg. Died in Stockholm. He was employed at the Sandrew studio 1941-1959 and Svensk Filmindustri 1959-1970.

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Sven Nykvist spent his childhood at a boarding school for the children of missionaries in the Stockholm suburb of Lidingö while his parents were away in the Congo. His father, a keen amateur photographer, passed on his interests to his son at an early age. Nykvist got his first film job with Sandrews at the age of 19, and made his debut as a cameraman with the children's film classic The Children (Barnen från Frostmofjället, Rolf Husberg, 1945).

Before he met Ingmar Bergman, Nykvist spent roughly the next ten years filming folksy Swedish classics bathed in brilliant summer light. He was responsible for the interior shots in Bergman's Sawdust and Tinsel (Gycklarnas afton, 1953. US title: The Naked Night), but their creative partnership first really took off with The Virgin Spring (Jungfrukällan, 1960). After that Nykvist was the cameraman for all of Bergman's films, including the documentary Fårö Document (Fårödokument, 1971) and the television series Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap, 1972), right up until Fanny and Alexander (Fanny och Alexander, 1982).

In the 1960s Nykvist and Bergman experimented with a pure and aesthetic style of black and white photography in films such as Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en spegel, 1961), Winter Light (Nattvardsgästerna, 1963), The Silence (Tystnaden, 1963) and Persona (1966). In the decade that followed, their interest shifted to symbolically charged colour photography in costume dramas such as Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop, 1974), The Magic Flute (Trollflöjten, 1975) and the lavish Fanny and Alexander.

Nykvist became the interpreter and co-creator of Ingmar Bergman's visual style, yet throughout his career he had a strong desire to explore new directions and partnerships. Back in 1948 he set off for the Congo together with the actor Olof Bergström, the upshot of which was I fetischmannens spår ('On the Tracks of the Fetish Man'), a documentary film about the impact of Christian missions in Africa. In 1952 another collaboration with Bergström, the drama documentary Under Södra korset ('Beneath the Southern Cross'), as released in cinemas to critical acclaim. In all, Nykvist made five films about Africa, including a sensitive documentary about the doctor Albert Schweitzer, Vördnad för livet ('Reverence for Life', 1952) and a feature starring Harriet Andersson, The Vine Bridge (Lianbron, 1965), which was not well received. It was not until 1990 that Nykvist returned to the director's chair, this time with greater success, with The Ox (Oxen), a drama set in rural southern Sweden, which was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film.

From the 1970s onwards Nykvist got offers from various international filmmakers and collaborated successfully with many of them. He put his personal stamp on films such as Roman Polanski's The Tenant (Le locataire, 1976), Louis Malle's Pretty Baby (1977), Andrei Tarkovsky's The Sacrifice (Offret, 1986) and three of Woody Allen's films: Another Woman (1988), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Allen's episode in New York Stories (1989). During the course of his long career Nykvist worked on more than 100 films, his last work behind the camera coming with Peter Yates' N.Y. Ghosts (1999) and his son Carl-Gustaf Nykvist's documentary about his father, Light Keeps Me Company (Ljuset håller mig sällskap, 2000).

Nykvist won two Oscars for his cinematography: for Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander. In 1996 he became the first European to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). His autobiography "Vördnad för ljuset" ('Reverence for the Light') was published in 1997.

Mikaela Kindblom (2011)

(Translated by Derek Jones)

Awards

Festival Award Göteborg 1998 (festivalens och Sällskapet Manetens 1997 rs pris till rets filmfotograf)
Madrid 1998 (Lifetime Achievement Award; Madrid Imagen)
Toruń 1998 (särskild groda till alla tiders utmärkta skaparduon Nykvist-Bergman)
Toruń 1993 (Zlota Zaba/Gyllene grodan för hela verksamheten)
Nominated for the Guldbagge Award Stockholm 1992 Best Cinematography The Ox
Prize New York 1991 (American-Scandinavian Foundations s.k. Ingmar Bergman-pris)
Best Cinematography Karlovy Vary 1986 Agnes of God
Festival Award Valladolid 1986 The Sacrifice (bästa foto)
Cannes 1986 The Sacrifice (foto; för "bästa konstnärliga insats")
Academy Award of Merit Los Angeles 1984 Fanny and Alexander (bästa foto 1983/Best Cinematography 1983)
BAFTA London 1983 Fanny and Alexander (bästa foto)
Commission Supérieure Technique du Cinéma Cannes 1978 Pretty Baby (foto)
César Paris 1976 Black Moon (bästa foto)
Academy Award of Merit Hollywood 1973 Cries and Whispers (bästa foto)
Prize London 1973 Cries and Whispers (tidskriften Films & Filmings pris för bästa färgfoto)
The Guldbagge Award Stockholm 1973 Special Achievement Cries and Whispers (för fotot)
National Society of Film Critics 1972 Cries and Whispers (bästa foto)
The Swedish Film Academy's Silver Plaquette Stockholm 1970
Chaplin Magazine Award Stockholm 1960 The Virgin Spring (foto i denna film och i Domaren)
Stockholm 1960 The Judge (foto i denna film och i Jungfrukällan)
Folket i Bild Magazine Award Stockholm 1957 En drömmares vandring (foto i denna film och i Synnöve Solbakken)
Stockholm 1957 Synnöve Solbakken (foto i denna film och i En drömmares vandring)

Films

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Screenplay
Producer
Director of Photography
Production Mixer
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Production Manager
Technical Advisor
First Assistant Cameraman
Still Photographer

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