From interview by filmz.dk

"The Vanishing" - photo by Thys Ockersen [1992]

               

 PETER SUSCHITZKY   ASC

Born: 25 July 1941, London, UK, as son of doph Wolfgang Suschitzky [29 August 1912-].

Education: IDHEC, Paris, France.

Career: Although music was his passion, he decided that cinematography would become his profession. 'At film school, the cinematographer-in-residence, Jean-Pierre Mundviller, had started work as a newsreel cameraman and then became a movie cinematographer in pre-revolution Russia. He'd been one of the cinematographers on 'Napoléon' [1925-26, Abel Gance]. He took me to the roof of the school building, where he'd had a hand-cranked camera installed. My first lesson on it consisted of him singing the marching song that French cameramen sang to keep a steady 18fps. He then proceeded to teach me how to make a fade in the camera and how to do a dissolve. To a very young student in the middle of the French New Wave, all that seemed to be a waste of time. However, those are the most treasured memories I have of the school, and the early lesson that I tended to dismiss as not being of any practical use made me think, years later, of our early, pioneering colleagues; because all effects were in-camera, they had to make decisions we are never obliged to make, such as choosing to stop a scene on a good take, winding the film back for a dissolve, and then taking the camera to the next location and going for the first take! It filled me with respect for the achievements of the silent era. Mundviller died only a few years after I studied with him, but contact with him made me feel I had touched the hand of someone who was present at the birth of the movies.' [From the ASC website.] After studying his trade in Paris he became a clapper boy at age 19 and a cameraman at 22.

Was a member of the BSC.

Ph numerous commercials dir by Douglas Hickox, Cliff Owen, Bob Brooks, Alan Parker, Ridley Scott, Brian Byfield [for Guinness], Terry Bedford, Paul Weiland, Giuseppe Tornatore, Roman Polanski, a.o.

Awards: BSC Award nom [1977] & BAFTA Film Award nom [1978] for 'Valentino'; 'Genie' Award [1989] for 'Dead Ringers'; NSFC Award [1991] for 'Where the Heart Is'; 'Genie' Award [1992] for 'Naked Lunch'; 'Genie' Award [1996] for 'Crash'; 'Genie' Award [2007] for 'Eastern Promises'; ICFF Manaki Brothers 'Life Achievement Award' [2009].


About his films with David Cronenberg: Stylistically, Peter chooses to operate the camera on every picture he creates with David. "The first time I met David he said to me that is the way he likes to work. I said fine, I'll do that too. I think at that time I had only operated on one or two small pictures. Since then I have operated on other pictures, but I don't do it as a matter of course. I prefer to do it on intimate movies - intense movies like his. I really prefer it because it is a part of my visual job to compose the picture. Although I could describe to an operator how to start and finish a shot, it is the part that is in-between that is totally uncontrollable. It makes me feel like the first viewer of the movie. It gives me a great thrill!" [From the Fujifilm website.]



 FILMS

1962

It Happened Here [Kevin Brownlow & Andrew Mollo] b&w; addph (16mm): Kevin Brownlow; 'It Happened Here' was begun in 1956 as an amateur project on 16mm dir and ph by 18-year old asst film editor Kevin Brownlow. Andrew Mollo joined the project in 1957. Production continued intermittently between 1956 and 1962. Director Tony Richardson arranged for sufficient financing to complete the picture. The 16mm footage was blown-up to 35mm and the remainder of the film was ph on 35mm during a 40-day period between July 1962 and April 1963 by 22-year old Peter Suschitzky, who already had considerable experience as a doc cameraman. By May 1964 the 99 minute feature was finally ready.

1964

Trinidad & Tobago [Geoffrey Jones] c; comm doc/19m; cph: Wolfgang Suschitzky; a BP Film

1964

The Meeting [Mamoun Hassan] c; short/10m

1965

Road to St. Tropez/La route de St. Tropez [Michael Sarne] ts/c; short/31m

1965

Mister Lewis [Malcolm Craddock] b&w; short/17m

1965

Creativity at School [James W. Roberts] 16mm/b&w; comm doc/30m

1965

Blood Groups and Transfusion [A.E.C. Hopkins] c; comm doc/10m

1965

Surface to Surface [Victor Menzies] c; comm doc/13m

1966

Can I Help You [John Fletcher] b&w; comm doc/23m

1966

The Beach [Malcolm Craddock] 16mm/b&w; short/20m

1966

Privilege [Peter Watkins] c

1966

The Christmas Tree [Jim Clark] b&w; short/59m

1966

Giacometti [Michael Gill] b&w; doc/14m; cph: Ken Willicombe

1966

Charlie Bubbles [Albert Finney] c; + small part

1967

The Charge of the Light Brigade [Tony Richardson] p/c; 2uc; ph: David Watkin

1968

A Midsummer Night's Dream [Peter Hall] c

1968

A Touch of Love/Thank You All Very Much/The Millstone [Waris Hussein] c

1968

Gladiatorerna/The Peace Game/The Gladiators [Peter Watkins] c

1969

Leo the Last [John Boorman] c

1969

Lock Up Your Daughters! [Peter Coe] c

1969

Figures in a Landscape [Joseph Losey] p/c; cph: Henri Alekan; aph: Guy Tabary

1970

Melody/S.W.A.L.K. [Waris Hussein] c

1971

The Pied Piper [of Hamelin] [Jacques Demy] c

1971

Henry VIII and His Six Wives [Waris Hussein] c

1972

Inside the Third Reich [Andrew Birkin] unrealized; screen test with Donald Pleasence was shot; filmed in 1982 as tvm

1973

That'll Be the Day [Claude Whatham & (uncred) Alan Parker] c

1974

The Rocky Horror Picture Show [Jim Sharman] c

1975

Lisztomania [Ken Russell] p/c

1976

Valentino [Ken Russell] c

[Left] - "The Empire Strikes Back"

Photo by George Whitear

1979

[Star Wars: Episode V -] The Empire Strikes Back [Irvin Kershner] p/c; studio 2uc (d: Harley Cokliss & John Barry): Chris Menges; loc 2uc (d: Peter MacDonald): Geoff Glover; 2uc: Howard Atherton; aph: Ron Goodman; spec vfx: Brian Johnson & Richard Edlund; efx ph: Dennis Muren; optical ph superv: Bruce Nicholson; matte ph: Stanley Sayer (cons), Neil Krepela & Michael Lawler (add); principal ph March-September 1979 (175 days)

1982

Krull [Peter Yates] c; 2uc: Chic Anstiss; vfx ph: Paul Wilson; optical efx: Robin Browne, Jamie Harcourt, Malcolm Vinson, John Fletcher, a.o.

1984

Falling in Love [Ulu Grosbard] c; addph: Ernie Miscelli; 2uc: Peter Norman

1985

Howard the Duck/Howard... A New Breed of Hero [Willard Huyck] was offered to ph this film, but he turned it down (possibly the reason why he didn't ph another 'Star Wars'-film); prod was ph by Richard H. Kline (1985-86)

1987

In extremis [Olivier Lorsac] c

1988

Dead Ringers/Twins/Alter ego [David Cronenberg] c; when ph Mark Irwin was unavailable because of another commitment, Suschitzky replaced him

1989

Where the Heart Is [John Boorman] c

1990

Un homme et deux femmes/A Man and Two Women [Valérie Stroh] c

1991

Naked Lunch [David Cronenberg] c; + c.op

1991

The Public Eye [Howard Franklin] c

[Right] next to dir George Sluizer - "The Vanishing" - photo by Thys Ockersen

1992

The Vanishing [George Sluizer] c; aph: Rex Metz

1992

M. Butterfly [David Cronenberg] c

1994

Immortal Beloved [Bernard Rose] p/c; uncred addph: Daryn Okada

1995

Crash [David Cronenberg] c

1996

Mars Attacks! [Tim Burton] p/c; stop motion ph: Eric Adkins; miniature ph: Patrick Sweeney

1997

The Man in the Iron Mask [Randall Wallace] c; 2uc: Henri Habans

1998

eXistenZ [David Cronenberg] c

1999

Red Planet [Antony Hoffman] p/c; 2uc: Geoffrey Wharton; miniature ph: Gary Hutzel

2001

Spider [David Cronenberg] c

2003

Shopgirl [Anand Tucker] p/c; 2uc: Rob Sweeney; aph: David B. Nowell

[Background] with David Cronenberg - "A History of Violence"

2004

A History of Violence [David Cronenberg] c

2005

Le concile de pierre/The Stone Council [Guillaume Nicloux] s35/c

2006

Eastern Promises [David Cronenberg] 35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c

2010

A Dangerous Method [David Cronenberg] s35-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c

2011

Cosmopolis [David Cronenberg] HD (ARRI ALEXA)-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c

[Right] with M. Night Shyamalan - "After Earth"

Photo by Frank Masi

2012

After Earth [M. Night Shyamalan] HD (Sony F65 + Canon EOS C500)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; aph: Phil Pastuhov

2013

Maps to the Stars [David Cronenberg] c


 TELEVISION

1965

The War Game [Peter Watkins] doc/b&w/46m; cph: Peter Bartlett; aired by BBC-tv in July 1985

1966

Francis Bacon: Fragments of a Portrait [Michael Gill] doc/b&w/44m; for BBC-tv

1974

All Creatures Great and Small [Claude Whatham] tvm

1993

Fallen Angels [ep #2 'I'll Be Waiting' dir by Tom Hanks & #4 'The Frightening Frammis' dir by Tom Cruise] 15-part series, 1993 & 1995; 1st season, 1993; other ph: Emmanuel Lubezki (2 ep) & Declan Quinn (2 ep)


 MISCELLANEOUS

1964

I Do - And I Understand [Derek Williams; comm doc] c.op; ph: Brian Probyn

2010

George Harrison: Living in the Material World [Martin Scorsese; doc] co-c.op; ph: Robert Richardson & Martin Kenzie; filming started late 2007; premiered in 2-parts on HBO-tv (2011)