French independent film hopes for Oscars glory

French film, Les Miserables, is nominated in Best International Feature Film category.

The 92nd Academy Awards are set to be held in Hollywood this weekend.

Among the favourites for Best Film Editing is South Korean thriller Parasite, and the first world war epic 1917. Parasite has also been nominated in the Best International Feature Film category where it will be up against, among others, Les Miserables, a French film about life in the poor suburbs of Paris made by an untrained filmmaker with a cast of mainly non-professional actors

Source: French independent film hopes for Oscars glory | France News | Al Jazeera

Rare Film of Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Degas

Monet

Fine art enthusiasts will appreciate these fascinating 100-year-old film clips of four of the most celebrated artists in history; Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin, and Edgar Degas. In 1915, with the newly innovated film camera, a young Russian-born, French actor named Sacha Guitry captured some of France’s greatest artists and authors.

View at: Rare Film of Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Degas

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

Director Agnès Varda is getting ready to say goodbye

At the Berlin Film Festival where she presented her documentary “Varda by Agnès”, New Wave filmmaker Agnès Varda said she was “slowing down” and “getting ready to say goodbye”. She announced that she would no longer lecture or interview one-on-one.

“I should stop talking about myself, and here I am, I have to prepare to say goodbye, to leave,” said Agnès Varda, at a press conference. “It’s just a matter of slowing down to find the necessary peace,” added the French filmmaker, who was asked if she was saying goodbye to the film.

A movie to say goodbye

His documentary “Varda by Agnès”, is in two parts in the form of a movie lesson. Agnès Varda looks back on her career of more than 60 years. It will be broadcast on March 18th on the television channel Arte in France. She talks about his inspirations and his work, the 20 thcentury in the first pane and from the 2000s in the second period it was more focused on the documentary and visual arts.

Film image & quot; Varda by Agnes & quot;  presented at the Berlin Film Festival 2019.Image from the movie “Varda by Agnes” presented at the Berlin Film Festival 2019.

 © DR

“I’ve done a lot of lectures everywhere, at universities, film schools, all kinds of places, festivals, even small film clubs, and I thought I should do a movie now that’s like a conference, “she explained. This film is “a way to say goodbye, because I do not want to talk about my films anymore”, added the director, stating that “now, she would not accept to lecture anymore” or “to give interviews in head-to-head”.

“Women have conquered the field of cinema”

Agnès Varda, a pioneer woman for her time, returned to her directorial debut in 1954 with her first feature film “La Pointe courte”. “There were very few women directors,” she said. But “when I made this film, what interested me was not to say ‘I’m a female director’, it was to make a radical film,” she said. “Today, it is very important that women not only be directors, but cheffers operators, mixers, sound engineers, editors … Women have gradually conquered the field of cinema”, s’ she is congratulated.
The director of “Cléo de 5 à 7”, who led with actress Cate Blanchett a women’s march for equality at the last Cannes Film Festival, estimated however “half happy” with this operation, that she found “a little too chic cinema”. “It was beautiful women on beautiful stairs with beautiful dresses,” she said. “And it’s less effective sometimes than walking in the street or meeting.”

Source: La réalisatrice Agnès Varda se prépare “à dire au revoir”