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Leaving Afghanistan


The filming conditions of The Devil's Pass
Raoul Coutard Film-maker
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And meanwhile I had done two other things with Schoendoerffer, which were commissioned films- "Ramuntcho"? "Ramuntcho" and also "Island Fishermen". And "Island Fishermen", yes.

[BC] But when you were in Afghanistan to film "The Devil's Pass", you didn't send your film to the lab to get it developed and printed?

Yes we did, but we didn't send every- we sent it once in a while-

[BC] But you viewed it, I imagine they kept the films, they didn't send it back to-

No no no, we didn't view anything, no no. Because I imagine that over there- the cinematographic infrastructures were non-existent, right? We could have done, but I mean it wasn't worth it. I mean the most important thing was that the lab gave us the instructions, that there was Jacques Dupont's wife who went to see the rushes and sent us reports of what she saw. There was a film editor who watched them and gave us her opinion. So I mean-

[BC] And Jacques Dupont, what was he doing on that film?

Theoretically, since Pierre was sick for the first two weeks, so he took over. Afterwards they struggled to coexist, really. Really? You mean that they didn't agree on what needed to be done? I mean they got along but it wasn't- No, actually, I mean Jacques, as soon as he started, he never really let go again. He didn't want to, obviously.

[BC] And how long did the filming last?

In the end, the filming lasted 10 months. So ten months, since over there everything is made with mutton fat, as a result I don't like mutton anymore.

Et entre temps moi j'avais donc fait deux autres trucs avec Schoendoerffer qui étaient des films de commande que- "Ramuntcho" ? "Ramuntcho" et puis "Pêcheur d'Islande". Et "Pêcheur d'Islande" oui. Mais quand tu étais en Afghanistan pour faire "La passe du diable", tu n'envoyais pas la pellicule au labo pour être développée et tirée ? Si on l'envoyait, mais on ne l'envoyait pas tous- On l'envoyait de temps en temps- Mais tu le visionnais, ils gardaient la pellicule j'imagine, ils ne la renvoyaient pas pour- Non non non, on visionnait rien du tout, non non. Parce que là-bas j'imagine que- Les infrastructures cinématographiques étaient inexistantes, non ? On aurait pu mais je veux dire c'était pas intéressant. Je veux dire l'essentiel c'est que le labo nous donnait les instructions, qu'il y avait la femme de Jacques Dupont allait voir les rushes et nous donnait un compte rendu de ce qu'elle voyait. Il y avait une monteuse qui regardait qui nous disait ce qu'elle pensait. Bon je veux dire- Et Jacques Dupont il faisait quoi sur le film ? Théoriquement, comme les 15 premiers jours Pierre il était malade, c'est lui qui a pris en main l'affaire. Après ils avaient quand même je pense des grosses difficultés tous les deux à survivre, ensemble. Ah bon ? Tu veux dire qu'ils ne s'entendaient pas sur ce qu'il fallait faire ? Je veux dire ils s'entendaient mais c'était pas le- Non en fait je veux dire Jacques, à partir du moment où il a commencé, il n'avait jamais vraiment lâché prise. Il ne voulait plus, bien sûr ? Et le tournage a duré combien de temps ? Alors le tournage a duré finalement dix mois. Alors dix mois, comme là-bas tout est fait avec de la graisse de mouton, du coup j'aime plus le mouton.

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: Ramuntcho, Island Fishermen

Duration: 2 minutes, 1 second

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008