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Growing up with Russian cinema
Raoul Coutard Film-maker
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Bon, à l'époque, je ne pensais pas du tout faire du cinéma, pas du tout. Le cinéma était une chose qui n'était pas très- Enfin c'était répandu je veux dire mais- On allait- J'allais au cinéma, on y allait en général toutes les semaines. Il y avait deux ou trois cinémas, comme j'habitais dans l'île Saint-Louis, on allait dans des cinémas qui étaient au- Dans l'île Saint-Louis il n'y avait de cinéma mais dans les cinémas qui étaient aux alentours, rue Saint-Paul. A la Bastille, pas loin de la Bastille peut-être ? Pas si loin que ça. Il y avait des cinémas beaucoup plus près. Il y avait place Monge aussi, il y en avait. Donc j'allais souvent au cinéma. Ensuite pour le cinéma, naturellement avec mon oncle qui était au parti communiste, je me suis tapé tous les films russes. Je dois dire à l'époque, je ne me souviens même pas de qui c'était, la seule chose dont je me souviens c'était toujours des choses épiques concernant la révolution. Bon sûrement j'ai dû voir peut-être le "Cuirassé", mais je me souviens pas d'avoir vu ça. Par contre j'ai vu d'autres films de la Révolution, qu'on n'a plus jamais revus après. Les films de Poudovkine peut-être ? Oui, peut-être. "La Mère", "Tempête sur l'Asie" ? J'étais tout môme à ce moment-là. Je devais avoir sept, huit ans, donc j'ai des vagues images. C'est pour dire que le cinéma c'est une chose que je connaissais, mais c'est pas une idée qui me serait venue de vouloir faire du cinoche. Je crois qu'à l'époque j'étais comme tous les gosses, j'avais envie d'être coureur cycliste ou de faire ce genre de truc.

Well, at the time, I wasn't thinking at all of working in film, not at all. The film industry wasn't something very... well I mean it was widespread but... I went to the cinema, we usually went every week. There were two or three cinemas, because I lived on the Île Saint-Louis, we went to cinemas that were... on the Île Saint-Louis there weren't any cinemas, but we went to the cinemas that were in the neighbourhood, on Saint-Paul Street.

[Q] At the Bastille, not far from the Bastille maybe?

Not that far away. There were cinemas much closer. There was also Place Monge, there was one there. So I often went to the cinema. So as for cinema, obviously my uncle being a Communist, I ended up seeing all the Russian films. I must say that at the time, I don't even remember who they were by, the only thing I remember is that they were always on epic things about the revolution. Obviously, I may have seen the Cuirassé, but I don't remember. On the other hand, I saw other films from the revolution, that were never seen afterwards.

[Q] Poudovkine's films maybe?

Yes, maybe.

[Q] Mother, Storm over Asia?

I was just a kid at that time. I must have been seven, eight years old, so I have a hazy memory of it. That's to say cinema was something that I knew, but it wouldn't have occured to me to work on pictures. I think that at the time I was like any other kid, I wanted to be a racing cyclist or something like that.

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

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.

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.

Tags: Saint-Paul Street, Vsevolod Pudovkin

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008