The acceptance of the award by Mr. Lhomme, was the quickest to take place in my experience so far, which also served as a great personal encouragement as it became clear to me that he is already familiar with our festival, the gravity of the award he is presented with and the honor bestowed on him. After I sent the invitation on the afternoon of 10 May, on the very next morning Mr. Lhomme sent his positive answer which I quote in full:
“Dear Sir, Thank you for your invitation and the Lifetime Achievement Award. It is a pleasure to accept it. I will be coming with my wife Renee and we would like to stay a few days to enjoy the festival and discover/get to know your country”. We will be departing from Marseilles or Paris. Kindest regards, Pierre Lhomme
– I was indeed glad and I immediately replied, thanking him and writing that he honestly made that day very special to me. And how else could I have felt when by getting a new member in the Club of Greats of the caliber of Pierre Lhomme, our festival hits right into the bull’s eye. Because, not only is Lhomme one of the greatest living French and world cinematographers, he is also an invaluable addition to our anthology of cinematographers.
Lhomme’s abounding opus, consisting of over 100 movies — about 60 long-features ones in addition to the documentaries and shorts, in a career spanning over half a century, is composed of films from various visual, cine-aesthetic and genre expressions. Another spec- THE RECIPIENT OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD GOLDEN CAMERA 300 AT THE 38 EDITION OF THE MANAKI BROTHERS FESTIVAL IS THE FRENCH CINEMATOGRAPHER: PIERRE LHOMME/AFC 34 ificity in this sense is that he collaborated with a multitude of leading French directors, and has also worked on a significant number of films signed by foreign authors. Many of these films were promoted at the Festival in Cannes, where Lhomme has also won the best cinematographer award, and he has also been the laureate of the main French film award – César, for several of his anthological films. Pierre Lhomme was born on 5 April, in the town of Boulogne-sur-Saine, France.
From 1951-53 he attended the École nationale supérieure Louis-Lumière, while his study visit to film schools in America was also of great importance. Also between 1990 and 1993 he was the president of AFC, the Association of French Cinematographers, whose honorable president he still is, even now.
Over the course of his career he consistently worked on shooting shorts, documentaries and feature films, and naturally, after his studies, in the early period in the 1950s and 1960s, he was gaining experience as a camera operator and camera assistant. In this first stage he shot the short films of the later-to-become notable French directors, such as Éric Rohmer, Philippe de Broca, Jean Eustache, Chris Marker, with whom, after Lhomme’s independent realization of the short film PARIS MON COPAIN (1954) where he took on the role of a director as well, he co-directed the long documentary LE JOLI MAI (1962, with Yves Montand, Simon Signoret and Lhomme as narrators), which, after the short film, is another portrait of Paris and the Parisians, in the spring of 1962 after the end of the colonial war and the Algerian trauma. In the course of 1978 we also have the series of shorts that Lhomme shot with the author Marguerite Duras.
Lhomme’s filmography visibly indicates that he did not get categorically attached to a certain director in order to build a lasting tandem partnership, although it is evident that there is a group of directors that he shot 2, 3 or 4 films with, acquiring a certain habit to match their directorial style with a visually adequate style, regardless of whether it was black and white or color photography. In this group that he repeatedly collaborated with, we list primarily the famous French directors: Jean- Paul Rappeneau with the films LE SAUVAGE (1976, César nomination), ALL FIRED UP, and one of the best films shot by Lhomme – CYRANO de BERGERAC (1990, more on this masterpiece below); Patrice Chéreau: THE FLESH OF THE ORCHID (1976, Nomination for the French Film Award César) and JUDITH THERPAUVE (1979, another César nomination); Claude Miller: THIS SWEET SICKNESS (1978, one more César nomination) and DEADLY CIRCUIT (1984, the fifth César nomination); Alain Cavalier: FIRE AND ICE (1961, his second film since the start of his career made in black and white photography), PILLAGED (1967), HEARTBEAT (1968). With the American director James Ivory Lhomme shot the following films: MAURICE (1987), QUARTET (1981), THE DIVORCE (2003), as the last film in his active career) and the historic biographical drama about the double life of the American President – JEFFERSON IN PARIS (1995).
The list of one-fold collaboration between Pierre Lhomme with other directors is slightly longer, and on this occasion I selectively single out the following directors and their films: Yves Boisset with COPLAIN SAVES HIS SKIN (1968), the American William Klein with Mr. FREEDOM (1968), the German director, the Oscar-winner, Volker Schlöndorff with whom he worked on the VOYAGER (1991, featuring Sam Sheppard and Julie Delpy in an adventurous and passionate love drama), Claude Berri with LE SEX SHOP (1972), Benoît Jacquot with the CLOSET CHILDREN (1977), Dusan Makavejev with SWEET MOVIE (1974), Jacques Doillon with THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER (1981), Bertrand Blier with MY MAN (1996).
However, Lhomme’s opus also contains, accord ing to my affinities and taste, some of the most sublime cinematic creations, which reaffirm his high cinematographer’s standing in the domain of visual expression. In the subtleness of the recent expression of Robert Bresson, in the film adaptation of the anthological short story “White Nights” by Dostoyevsky and its modern version, in the Parisian atmosphere of Pont-Neuf, Lhomme embeds the magic of the meeting between the young painter and the disillusioned girl on the verge of suicide, in the film FOUR NIGHTS OF A DREAMER (1971).
It is with a related color gamma that Lhomme depicts the pending tragedy of the two lovers who seem to be destined to miss each other (Dominique Sanda and Mathieu Carrière) through the panoramic in the film LE NAVIRE NIGHT of the always unpredictable, unconventional Marguerite Duras. From the historic topics, in the film CAMILLE CLAUDEL by director Bruno Nuytten, through the color-palette of his expression, Lhomme builds the biographical fatal love drama of the authentic lovers, the then still anonymous Camille Claudel, the sister of the writer Paul Claudel and the already famous sculptor Rodin (Depardieu), which reaped Lhomme the César Award in 1989. In 1973, a certain discovery of the Cannes Film Festival in the competition was the 3.5 hour long film LA MAMAN ET LA PUTAIN, by writer and director Jean Eustache, the epilogue of which was the critics award FIPRESCI, and the Grand Prix of the jury in Cannes. In black and white photography, cinematographer Pierre Lhomme builds the atmosphere of the bizarre ménage-a-trois love story, based on the authentic love story between director Eustache and actress Françoise Lebrun, who plays the promiscuous Veronica in the film, while her partner Alexander is played by Jean-Pierre Léaud, with Bernadette Lafont, as his friend Mary, the third member of the trio. In one of the films with biggest cult following by writer and director Jean-Pierre Melville, L’ARMÉE DES OMBRES (1969), as an adaptation of the roman by Joseph Kessel, Pierre Lhomme visually upgrades the story from the time of the resistance movement in France during the occupation in 1942 so that it can match the psycho-thriller action tension, with the tandem of actors Simone Signoret and Lino Ventura, in one of their most striking achievements.
The peak of creativity of the cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, the masterpiece, the historic drama, as a film adaptation of the anthological love poem by writer Edmond Rostand is the eponymous film CYRANO de BERGERAC (1990) of the already mentioned writer director Rappeneau, in which Lhomme visually impressively elevates the Shakespearian spirit of this work, with the unforgettable actor’s creation by Depardieu in the role of the frustrated due to his long nose, Cyrano, which is in fact the role of his life. This dimension is applied in Lhomme’s mastery in the work with actors, which is something that all the above mentioned collaborators – directors, that he has built his impressive filmography with, are grateful for. And the fact that the crown in his filmography is the film CYRANO de BARGERAC is also supported by all the important awards it reaped: the BAFTA (the award of the British Film Academy), the award of BSC (the British Society of Cinematographers), the Technical Grand Prix in Cannes, the French César for best cinematographer, although he was unjustly overlooked by the American Film Academy for the well-deserved Oscar, as well as the award of the EFA (the European Film Academy). The cherry on the top of his magnificent opus as a cinematographer is our Lifetime Achievement Award – the Golden Camera 300, which makes us immensely proud!
Blagoja Kunovski – Dore