Born in Marseille, France in 1941, Janos Kende graduated from the Academy of Drama and Film, Budapest in 1965 where he was a pupil of György Illés, a legend of the Hungarian film and the founder of the national school of cinematography.
He started his career in 1967 as assistant camera on Miklos Jancsó`s The Red and the White, and was so good at comprehending the director`s ideas that the following Jancsó`s film Silence and Cry János Kende made as his cameraman. Since Sirocco (1969) Kende has been working with Jancsó for 30 years on end at home and abroad on such prominent projects as Technique and Ritual, Rome Wants Another Cesar, Private Vices and Public Virtues. Kende is considered as a real co-author of Jancsó`s exquisite style especially in composing long takes - sometimes ten minutes long - which are regarded as the trade mark of both, the director and his cameraman.
In Hungary Kende is often called the King of Long Takes. In his interpretation the space in film and its images are especially dynamic and inspired. Kende has worked for other Hungarian directors as well such as Ferenc Kardos, Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács, Márta Mészaros, Tamás Banovich, Imre Gyongyossy, Róbert Bán, Janos Rózsa, Sándor Simó and others.
Among his numerous awards are
Patrick Pouget Prize for Camera Work (1972);
Hungarian Film Week's Best Cinematographer (1973) for Petofi'73;
Bela Balazs Prize (1975);
Merited Artist (1984);
Honorary Artist (1990);
Kossuth Prize (1994).