French New Wave Cinematographer Raoul Coutard Dies Aged 92

By Goodfellow, Melanie | Screen International, November 9, 2016 | Go to article overview

French New Wave Cinematographer Raoul Coutard Dies Aged 92


Goodfellow, Melanie, Screen International


Legendary French cinematographer Raoul Coutard who worked with Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Pierre Schoendorffer, Jacques Demy and Costa-Gavras has died aged 92.

Coutard worked on more than 80 features in a career spanning from 1958 to 2001 but is best known for his work with New Wave pioneers Godard and Truffaut.

He got his big break working with Jean-Luc Godard on 1960 classic Breathless, which was credited with reinventing cinema at the time for its stripped-down, fast-paced aesthetic.

Godard - who wanted to shoot the film as much as possible with a handheld camera and natural lighting - had partly hired Coutard for his background as a documentary cameraman for the French army.

Coutard spent five years working with the army's press service, mainly in French Indochina (today Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) in the late 1940s and early 50s.

Prior to that, he worked in a Paris photography lab, having dropped out of a chemistry degree because he did not have the means to pay for his studies.

On leaving the army, he worked as a freelance reporter and photographer for a time for publications including Life and Paris Match. …

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