Family & Companions
Trained at the Polish Film School in his native Lodz, director of photography Andrzej Bartkowiak immigrated to the USA in 1972 and shortly after began working in commercials. He made his feature debut as cinematographer on "Deadly Hero" (1976) but did not register with the public until his gritty lensing of more than 100 Manhattan locations for "Prince of the City" (1981), his first collaboration with Sidney Lumet and the second of the director's movies exploring corruption within the NYC police department. As Lumet's director or photography of choice, Bartkowiak worked on 10 of the director's next 11 films over the next 12 years. During this collaboration, he established a reputation for his urban compositions, peaking perhaps with the stark texture of "Q & A" (1990), as close an approximation of black-and-white as a color film can be. He also excelled when asked to bring his camera indoors, earning plaudits for the slick look of "Deathtrap" and solving the riddle of what the director desired for "The Verdict" (both 1982). Lumet wanted as "old" a look as possible, drawing inspiration from a book of Carravaggio's paintings, and Bartkowiak pinpointed what the director had in mind as chiaroscuro and went about providing its strong light source, almost always from the side, countered on the opposite side by no soft fill light, only shadows.
It seemed that whenever Bartkowiak ventured from under Lumet's wing during the 80s, the result was a blockbuster. He provided the very natural look of James L Brooks' glossy Oscar-winning Best Picture "Terms of Endearment" (1983) and crafted the comic noir look for John Huston's "Prizzi's Honor" (1986) and the crisp, clean visuals for Ivan Reitman's "Twins" (1988).
Since ending his creative relationship with Lumet ("Guilty as Sin" 1993), Bartkowiak has been much in demand. His taut camerawork added to the suspense of Jan De Bont's "Speed" (1994) building striking visuals from relatively little as a great deal of the film's action is confined to a speeding bus. Much of his late 90s work has involved providing striking visuals for films ranging from the special effects-driven denouements of "Species" (1995), "Dante's Peak" and "The Devil's Advocate" (both 1997) to the hand-held "L.A. as hell" look of Joel Schumacher's "Falling Down" (1993). His understated lighting and camerawork enhanced the inherent drama of the child custody-themed "Losing Isaiah" (1995). Returning to a glossier look, Bartkowiak replaced Dante Spinotti on the Barbra Streisand vehicle "The Mirror Has Two Faces" (1996). Like many other notables in his profession, he moved to the director's chair with "Romeo Must Die" (2000), a cross-cultural retelling of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" starring Asian action star Jet Li and R&B singer Aaliyah. For his second directorial effort he maintained some of the same flavor by teaming martial artist Steven Segal with rapper DMX in "Exit Wounds" (2001).
Director (Feature Film)
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Immigrated to the U.S.
First U.S. feature as director of photography, "Deadly Hero"
Initial collaboration with Sidney Lumet, "Prince of the City"
Crafted the exquisite visuals for Lumet's "The Verdict"
Was director of photography for James L. Brook's Oscar-winning Best Picture "Terms of Endearment"
Collaborated with John Huston in "Prizzi's Honor"
Was the cinematographer for Martin Ritt's "Nuts"; starred Barbra Streisand
Shot the comedy "Twins" with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny De Vito
Last film (to date) with Lumet, "Guilty as Sin"
Teamed with cinematographer-turned-director Jan De Bont on "Speed"
First film with director Roger Donaldson, "Species"
Replaced Dante Spinotti as director of photography for "The Mirror Has Two Faces"; directed by and starring Streisand
Re-teamed with Donaldson on "Dante's Peak"
First association with Jet Li, served as director of photography on "Lethal Weapon IV"
Feature directorial debut, "Romeo Must Die" starring Li
Served as director of photography for the Roger Donaldson-directed "Thirteen Days"
Directed second feature "Exit Wounds"
Re-teamed with Jet Li on "Cradle to the Grave"
Directed Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in the feature adaptation of "Doom"
Helmed the action film "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li"
Shot cinematography for Joel Schumacher directed crime drama "Trespass," starring Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage