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Raoul Coutard (1924–2016)

French New Wave cinematographer Raoul Coutard, who often collaborated with filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, and Jacques Demy, has died from an illness at the age of ninety-two, Liz Calvario of IndieWire reports.

Born in Paris in 1924, Coutard fought in the French Indochina War and worked in Vietnam for eleven years as a war photographer for publications such as Life and Paris Match. He stumbled into filmmaking accidentally when he thought he was hired to shoot production stills on the set of Pierre Schoendoerffer’s 1958 film La Passe du Diable (The Devil’s Pass), but was given the role of director of photography.

Throughout his five-decade career Coutard made eighty feature films, including Breathless (1960) which marked the first time he worked with Godard. The work was shot primarily with a handheld camera and was lauded for its fast pace and free form style. Coutard made his directorial debut in 1970 with the film Haoa Binh, which was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. He won numerous awards including the César Award for Best Cinematography for Le Crabe-Tambour in 1978, the Venice Film Festival Technical Prize for Prénom Carmen in 1983, and the American Society of Cinematographers’ International Award in 1997.

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