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Lajos Koltai


Born in Budapest, Hungary, Lajos Koltai has gained international attention for his filmmaking, first as cinematographer and now as director.

Evening is his second film in the latter creative capacity. In 2001, a countryman, Nobel Prize-winning author Imre Kertész, asked Mr. Koltai to direct the film version of his autobiographical novel Fateless, which tracked one young man's odyssey through the Holocaust. With Mr. Kertész adapting the novel, Mr. Koltai committed to make the move to directing. The resulting film, Fateless, became Hungary's official submission to the Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language. It was screened worldwide at some sixty film festivals, beginning with the Hungarian Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, and was released to global acclaim throughout 2005 and 2006. Fateless starred Marcell Nagy in the lead role.

Mr. Koltai's cinematography career has been highlighted by his work with another countryman, director István Szabó. Their films together, spanning over a quarter-century of collaboration, include Mephisto (which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film); Colonel Redl and Hanussen (both of which were Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film); Meeting Venus (which starred Glenn Close of Evening); Sunshine (which was named Best Picture at the Genie Awards); Being Julia (for which Annette Bening won a Golden Globe Award); and, most recently, Rokonok (which he shot after directing Fateless and before directing Evening).

He has also enjoyed multiple collaborations with Guiseppe Tornatore, on Malèna (for which Mr. Koltai received an Academy Award nomination and a David di Donatello Award) and The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean (a.k.a. The Legend of 1900, for which Mr. Koltai won European Film and David di Donatello Awards); and Luis Mandoki, on Gaby: A True Story (for which Norma Aleandro received Academy and Golden Globe Award nominations), White Palace, Born Yesterday (1993), and When a Man Loves a Woman.

Mr. Koltai's other films as cinematographer include Péter Gothár's Time Stands Still; Randa Haines' Wrestling Ernest Hemingway; Jodie Foster's Home for the Holidays (which starred Claire Danes of Evening); Albert Brooks' Mother; Martha Coolidge's Out to Sea; and Menno Meyjes' Max.