a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Teaching lighting


From cinematographer to film director
Raoul Coutard Film-maker
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

[Q] When a cinematographer makes his first film as a film director, does he watch the way the cinematographer is working? Don't you have the tendency to say, 'Well, I would / I wouldn't have done it like that. I wouldn't have done it like that.

Yes, that's right. Yes, the problem there is that we think, since on the whole, as I was explaining earlier, we have communication problems, I thought I was going to explain it to my cinematographer who in addition was a friend because he was a guy I knew in Indochina, etc. I would explain what I wanted, he'd understand straight away. So in the end I realised that at some points I thought: I must have spoken to him in Czechoslovakian because that's not what I explained to him. But either way I let him get on with, I was unpleasant enough about everything else so I wasn't going to exaggerate about that. So it's true that when you're a film director, well, in this case anyway, I had quite an unpleasant feeling, which wasn't real, it's a completely false feeling, which was one of solitude. The sensation of being alone in front of this thing that I needed to shake up. In the end, everyone was under my thumb, listening to me, ready to throw themselves in the water, etc. I was under the impression that no one cared, that I was the only one doing anything. It wasn't very... But it's all very short-lived. But I mean it doesn't bring... it doesn't bring any serenity.

[Q] Quand un chef opérateur fait son premier film comme réalisateur, est-ce que sur le plateau il regarde pas ce que le chef opérateur qui travaille... Est-ce qu'on n'a pas tendance à se dire, 'Ah moi je... J'aurais pas fait comme ça / J'aurais pas fait comme ça'.

Oui, c'est ça. Oui. Non, non, c'est-à-dire le problème là c'est qu'on se dit, comme dans l'ensemble j'expliquais ça, on a des problèmes de communication, je me disais quand je vais expliquer à mon chef op qui était en plus un copain puisque c'était un type que j'avais connu en Indochine, etc., Je lui expliquais ce que je veux, il va tout de suite comprendre. Bon alors finalement je me rendais compte qu'à certains moments je me disais j'ai dû lui parler en tchécoslovaque parce que c'est pas ça que je lui ai expliqué. Mais de toute manière j'ai laissé faire, j'étais suffisamment désagréable pour le reste sans en plus en rajouter là-dessus. Bon c'est vrai que quand on est metteur en scène... En tout cas là... J'ai eu un sentiment assez désagréable qui était, ce qui est pas vrai d'ailleurs, c'est un sentiment complètement faux, mais qui était un sentiment de solitude. L'impression d'être tout seul face à mon machin qu'il fallait que je remue. Finalement tout le monde était à ma botte, à m'écouter, prêt à se jeter à la flotte, etc. J'avais l'impression que tout le monde s'en foutait, qu'il y avait que moi qui remuais... C'était pas très... Mais c'est fugace comme ça. Mais c'est-à-dire ça ne donne pas une... Ça ne donne pas de sérénité.

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: solitude, cinematography, film directing

Duration: 1 minute, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008