Pierre Lhomme, Legendary French Cinematographer, Dies at 89

He was behind the look of films like Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Army of Shadows’ and Jean Eustache’s ‘The Mother and the Whore.’

Pierre Lhomme, the French cinematographer behind such films as Army of ShadowsThe Mother and the WhoreCamille Claudel and Cyrano de Bergerac, has died. He was 89.

Lhomme died July 4 in Arles, France, the French Society of Cinematographers told The Hollywood Reporter.

Lhomme received a César award in 1989 for his work on Camille Claudel, which was directed by former cameraman Bruno Nuytten. He received a second César in 1991 for Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Cyrano de Bergerac, which also won a technical prize at Cannes.

Among his 60-odd credits are films by Chris Marker (Le Joli Mai, which Lhomme co-directed, and A bientôt, j’espère), Robert Bresson (Four Nights of a Dreamer), Marguerite Duras (Les Mains NégativesLe Navire Night), Claude Miller (This Sweet SicknessDeadly Circuit) and Alain Cavalier (Le combat dans l’îlePillaged).

Lhomme also shot several Merchant-Ivory features, including the James Ivory-directed QuartetMauriceJefferson in Paris and Le Divorce, and Ismail Merchant’s Cotton Mary. His last feature credit was on Le Divorce, which he lensed in 2003.

Born in Boulogne-Billancourt on April 5, 1930, Lhomme studied briefly in the U.S. before trying to make it as a jazz musician in Paris in the late 1940s and early ’50s. He was then accepted into the prestigious École nationale supérieure Louis-Lumière, a highly technical film school whose alumni includes fellow cinematographers Henri Decaë (The 400 Blows), William Lubtchansky (Shoah) and Philippe Rousselot (A River Runs Through ItBig Fish) and directors like Gaspar Noé and Jean-Jacques Annaud.

Lhomme graduated from Louis-Lumière in 1953 and began working as an assistant cameraman and camera operator on films like Philippe de Broca’s The Love Game and Jean Becker’s Man Called Rocca. He also befriended several directors of the budding French New Wave, working as an operator on Eric Rohmer’s first feature, The Sign of the Lion, and co-directing Marker’s 1962 Paris-set documentary, Le Joli Mai.

His first feature credit as a cinematographer was on Robert Darène’s 1958 pirate adventure The Amorous Corporal, for which he was co-credited with Marcel Weiss.

Lhomme went on to shoot dozens of features from the 1960s up to the late 1990s. One of his most memorable early collaborations was on Jean Eustache’s sprawling 220-minute drama The Mother and the Whore, which he shot in high-contrast 16mm black-and-white.

Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont and Françoise Lebrun, the film was made on a tiny budget and became a minor sensation in France during the post-May ’68 years. Lhomme worked again with Eustache on the hybrid fiction-documentary A Dirty Story, starring Michael Lonsdale and Jean-Noël Picq and released theatrically in 1977.

Lhomme’s most renowned work was on Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1969 French Resistance epic Army of Shadows, starring Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret. Shot in monochrome color tones that channeled the somber, stifling atmosphere of Vichy France during the World War II, the film was a hit at home but wasn’t released in the U.S. until 2006, where it grossed more than $700,000 in theaters and was widely hailed as a masterpiece.

“It was only after Army of Shadows that I felt like a real cinematographer,” Lhomme told the French-Canadian newspaper Le Devoir in 2007. “Melville asked me to do things I’d never tried before. I remember when I messed up a shot that came out so dark, you couldn’t see anything. Melville said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll put some nice music there.’”

Along with his César awards, Lhomme received a Prix Premio Gianni di Venanzo, named after the Italian cinematographer of , in 2005, and a lifetime achievement prize at the Camerimage festival in Poland in 2008. He was also crowned an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France.

During a 12-hour interview that Lhomme gave with students at the French film school La Fémis in 2014, he summed up his approach to cinematography this way: “I never had a fixed or preconceived idea about cinema … One of the main skills of a good cameraman is to be able to pass from one director to another and adapt to their different worlds. What I loved above all else was working with talented people.”

Source: Pierre Lhomme, Legendary French Cinematographer, Dies at 89

Netflix’s ‘Huge in France’ Is Almost Great

Netflix’s new fish-out-of-water comedy about a European megastar who relocates to Los Angeles is a strange kind of failure.

There are moments during Huge in France when you can perceive what the show might have been—a semi-satirical, semi-screwball comedy about the acute insanity of modern-day fame. The new eight-part Netflix series exists in a meta universe similar to HBO’s Entourage, in that it’s loosely based on the real experiences of an actor and comedian, Gad Elmaleh. The plight of the show’s Gad (he refers to himself in the third person, alors, c’est vraiment Gad) is that he’s a huge star. In France. In real life, this is also true for Elmaleh, who by most metrics is a bona fide celebrity: He has 1.8 million Instagram followers, he once sold out Paris’s Olympia theater for a record-breaking seven consecutive weeks, and his former partner is the granddaughter of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and Grace Kelly. In France, Elmaleh is Jerry Seinfeld. In America, though? If a celebrity lands in a city where no one has ever heard of him, does he make a sound? Continue reading “Netflix’s ‘Huge in France’ Is Almost Great”

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #12. Ahmed – Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne 

Ahmed – Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: Ahmed – Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne. 

Ahmed

The Dardenne Bros. turn their socially minded lens to religious extremism with their eleventh narrative feature, Ahmed. As usual, the Dardennes are collaborating with production company Les Films du Fleuve, returning to a template which saw them find early success by using a cast of unknowns. Having twice won the Palme d’Or (Rosetta, 1999; L’enfant, 2005), the duo are the most celebrated directors to have come from Belgium, making any of their projects of instant note. Besides their Palme wins, their offerings almost always leave Cannes with a major prize, including the Ecumenical Jury Prize for 2002’s Le fils, Best Screenplay for Lorna’s Silence in 2008, the Grand Jury Prize for 2011’s The Kid with a Bike, and again the Ecumenical Jury Prize for 2014’s Two Days, One Night (which also resulted in an Oscar nod for Marion Cotillard). Their 2016 feature The Unknown Girl (read review) was their only effort to leave the festival unrewarded.

The Dardennes turn to another topical issue with Ahmed, religious fundamentalism. While details are scarce, the plot concerns a young man who plots to kill his teacher following his extremist interpretation of the Quran. Early details are reminiscent of similar territory explored by Rachid Bouchareb in his 2016 Belgian set The Road to Istanbul, which explores a mother’s journey to search for her radicalized teenager.

Read about the Top 150 at: Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #12. Ahmed – Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne – IONCINEMA.com

“We’ll end up together”: nine years later, the band of “little handkerchiefs” is back

These reunions with the happy band of “Little handkerchiefs”, we waited with some impatience. While fearing that the charm operates less nine years later. And that’s what happens. Blame it on a lazy scenario.

Max (François Cluzet) is spinning bad cotton. Depressed, ruined, he is preparing to sell his holiday home quietly, without talking to his ex (Valerie Bonneton). But for the discretion, it’s missed: it’s right the moment that the band of friends lost sight of for years has chosen to come and celebrate his birthday and seal the reunion. Discomfort.

They are all there, a little older, a little thick for some … Vincent (Benoît Magimel), Marie (Marion Cotillard), Eric (Gilles Lellouche), Antoine (Laurent Lafitte), Isabelle (Pascale Arbillot) … Only Ludo, gone in the first part, misses the call. But Jean Dujardin will still give us a little wink at the end of the film.

All these actors are visibly happy to meet, in the beautiful setting of Cap Ferret, under the direction of their comrade Guillaume Canet. No surprise, Continue reading ““We’ll end up together”: nine years later, the band of “little handkerchiefs” is back”