Tuesday, 5 January 2016


A true artistic genius and one of history's most influential cinematographers has died. Zsigmond Vilmos was aged 85 when he died on the 1st of January 2016 in Big Sur, California. Born in Szeged, Hungary, he studied cinematography in Budapest's Academy of Drama and Film, before moving to the US for one of the finest film careers of the second half of the 20th Century. He worked profusely through the 1960s, after becoming an American citizen in '62, but rose to prominence in the next decade, New Hollywood's golden era, the '70s. He worked on both Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Peter Fonda's The Hired Hand in '71, and went on to contribute to some of the decade's most memorable movies: The Long Goodbye (also for Altman), The Sugarland Express and Close Encounters of the Third Kind for Steven Spielberg, and Oscar Best Picture winner The Deer Hunter. Close Encounters brought Zsigmond his first Oscar nomination of four, and his only win. Among his many other credits are Heaven's Gate, The River, The Witches of Eastwick, The Crossing Guard, The Black Dahlia and 2002's Hungarian production Bad Bank. Over his career, he was the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the American Society of Cinematographers and Camerimage. What a tremendous talent, and what a privilege to the art of film to have been able to welcome him into it. He will be very greatly missed.