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Alphaville and the static mark problem


Front projection
Raoul Coutard Film-maker
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And so afterwards, there was a shoot which was quite amusing to work on, because it was something, it was a film with wild animals. So I had gone to Uganda beforehand to film the copies, that is, what we were going to put on the transparencies. We were using a method, which was in fact invented by a Frenchman, but that the French never perfected, and which was the front projection. In fact, I don't remember how you say it in French.

[Q] Transparency?

No, no. It isn't transparency. Ah front projection is... I think that we say front projection, there is no French translation but I did things like that. Yes, yes.

[Q] Isn't it what we did with Oshima?

Yes, yes. That's what we did. That's right, we called it front projection. Yes, yes, that's what we were doing with Oshima because it was... Well, so it was... So they were very much aware of that method because at the time, they had just finished filming the battle of Britain, and they had used that system thoroughly. And it's true, that it was a fantastic system. So we had gone to film the copies, well, what needed to be put on those things. And so we thought that we were then going back to Pinewood to shoot it. But then, that was out of the question, since it was... there's never any money at the end of film shoots. So I was supposed to be on my own, I didn't have an assistant anymore; as the assistants must have been English. And I remember, that when I arrived at Pinewood with the French production manager, we met the English production manager who was supposed to take care of the film. And the first thing he said when he arrived, in a very serious tone, 'I wonder why we work with people we beat the hell out of at Waterloo'. But in the end, it still went quite well.

Et puis il y avait, alors après, un tournage qui était assez marrant à faire, parce que c'était un truc, c'était un film qui se passait avec des animaux sauvages. Bon donc on avait... J'avais été avant en Ouganda pour filmer les pelures, c'est-à-dire les choses qu'on allait mettre sur les transparents. On utilisait un procédé qui est un procédé inventé par un Français d'ailleurs, mais que les Français n'ont jamais mis au point, qui était le front projection. Je me souviens plus comment on dit en français d'ailleurs.

[Q] La transparence?

Non non mais c'est pas une transparence. Ah la front projection c'est une... Je crois qu'on dit front projection, y'a pas de traduction en français mais j'en ai fait des trucs comme ça. Oui, oui.

[Q] C'est pas ce qu'on avait fait avec Oshima?

Si, si, c'est ce qu'on avait fait. C'est ça, on disait front projection. Oui, oui, on faisait ça avec Oshima parce que c'était... Bon, alors donc c'était... Alors eux ils étaient vachement au courant de ce truc-là parce qu'ils avaient fait... A l'époque ils venaient de finir de tourner la bataille d'Angleterre, donc ils avaient utilisé à fond le système. C'est vrai, c'était un système fantastique. Donc on avait été tourner les pelures, enfin ce qu'il fallait mettre sur ces trucs-là. Et pour nous on devait donc revenir tourner ça à Pinewood. Et là, il n'était pas question, comme c'était... Les fins des films y'a jamais de ronds. Alors il était question que je sois tout seul, j'avais plus d'assistant, les assistants ça devaient être des Anglais. Et je me souviens, je suis arrivé avec le directeur de production français et on a rencontré en arrivant à Pinewood le directeur de production anglais qui devait s'occuper du film. Et la première chose qu'il a dit en arrivant, très sérieusement... Je me demande pourquoi on travaille avec des gens à qui on a foutu une trampe à Waterloo. Alors après, finalement ça s'est bien passé quand même.

French cinematographer, Raoul Coutard (1924-2016) was twice nominated for the César Award for best cinematography which he won in 1978 for 'Le Crabe-tambour'. He made over 75 films and documentaries, including 'À Bout de Souffle', Le Mépris' and 'Band à Part'. He was the most acclaimed French cinematographer of his generation and one of the key figures of the New Wave.

Listeners: Bernard Cohn

Benard Cohn is a French filmmaker and writer, who has directed five films as well as numerous documentaries and television series. As an assistant director, he worked with many important filmmakers, including Luis Buñuel, François Jacob, Otto Preminger and Woody Allen. He was a founding member of the Ciné-Qua-Non cinema club and has acted as editor and translator for various publications on the world of cinema.

Bernard Cohn est un réalisateur et écrivain français, ayant réalisé cinq film ainsi que de nombreux reportages et séries télévisées. En tant qu'assistant réalisateur, il a travaillé avec plusieurs grands cinéastes, notamment Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut, Otto Preminger et Woody Allen. Il fut membre fondateur du ciné-club Ciné-Qua-Non et a participé à la rédaction et traduction en anglais, de plusieurs ouvrages sur le cinéma.

Tags: Uganda

Duration: 2 minutes, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008