My Gleanings

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nestor Almendros on collaborating with François Truffaut

Nelson Almendros who was François Truffaut's main cinematographer from the late 1960s to his last film wrote this about the experience of collaborating with Truffaut in his book A Man and A Camera.

I was surprised to find that Truffaut is one of those people with whom it is sheer pleasure to work. As Jean Renoir did, he creates an atmosphere around him, and this shows through in his films. Unlike with so many directors, there is no hysteria when Truffaut works, no fuss or bother; everyone in the crew behaves in a friendly way. The work moves along gently, at an excellent pace, but with no feeling of pressure. Truffaut's characteristic mode is cooperation. With all his great talent, he is a man who listens to the suggestions of the people working with him and considers any comment carefully. He may turn it down or accept it, but his attitude is not that of a genius who needs no help: he listens to the set designer, to the assistant, Suzanne Schiffman, to the actors, and even to the makeup people and the grips. This was particularly true in The Wild Child, since Truffaut was playing the leading role and needed perspective to judge his scenes, which, naturally, he couldn't see. But everything we around him brought to his film was filtered through the strength of his personality. The "Truffaut touch" is always unmistakable.

quoted from A man with a camera / Nestor Almendros ; translated from the Spanish by Rachel Phillips Belash. (page 81-83)

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