French Cinematheque homage to Pierre Lhomme

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From October first to November fifth 2008, the French Cinematheque screened a series of films in tribute to the director of photography Pierre Lhomme, AFC. In his presentation, The Way of Light, Serge Toubiana retraces Pierre’s journey :
"After Giuseppe Rotunno and Raoul Coutard, the French Cinematheque honors Pierre Lhomme. As a way of entering into cinema, not through the door of directors, but through that most beautiful of windows : the film’s lighting. The royal road of those "making" film lighting. Pierre Lhomme has been one of the greatest directors of photography of French cinema for the past four decades..."

"His journey is exciting to follow, from his formative years in the Fifties at the Louis-Lumiere school (then called the ’Vaugirard School’ because of its location on the street of the same name in Paris). His teachers at that time were Henri Alekan, Nicolas Hayer, and especially Ghislain Cloquet...
Lhomme’s beginnings in cinema coincide with those of Alain Cavalier. The two men, after the IDHEC and Vaugirard schools, meet up in the French army’s Cinematographic Service. In 1958 Cavalier shoots a short film, called An American, produced by AJYM Films, Claude Chabrol’s production company. Pierre Lhomme is the director of photography, assisted by Yann Le Masson. And Maurice Pialat is Cavalier’s assistant. A beautiful black and white film to discover. Lhomme works on the first feature directed by Alain Cavalier : Fire and Ice (1962). The two men will meet on Pillaged (1967) and Heartbeat (1968).

Lhomme’s professional journey is also marked by his political commitment. Deeply anti-colonialist, Pierre Lhomme is an activist in the early Sixties. His collaboration with Chris Marker proves this, the two men co-direct Le Joli mai (1962), meet again in 1968 for Be Seeing You directed by Marker and Mario Marret, and later for The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer (1974). Today, Marker and Lhomme see each other regularly, discussing cinema and the new tools linked to digital cinema.

This path of lighting, sober and sophisticated, attentive to the characters and their psychology, will make for beautiful encounters for Pierre Lhomme... We should mention Benoît Jacquot, Jacques Doillon, William Klein, Francis Girod, Bertrand Blier, James Ivory...
Pierre Lhomme has crossed French cinema from end to end, contributing with incredible talent to the lighting of dozens of films that trace an incredible cinematic journey."

The Cinematheque program included some thirty feature films photographed by Pierre - including Four Nights of a Dreamer by Robert Bresson - a few short films and the projection of A Time to Live and a Time to Die by Louis Malle and The Hole by Jacques Becker, in tribute to cinematographer Ghislain Cloquet.
We must note four films that Pierre wanted to rescue from oblivion, and for which new copies were struck at his request :
- Pillaged by Alain Cavalier
New print color timed by Pierre Lhomme and the French Cinematheque, with the support of Kodak. On this occasion, Pierre Lhomme and representatives from a laboratory and a film manufacturer discussed the decisive and little-known issue of the color timing of prints, as well as issues related to the conservation of contemporary cinema, and the need to continue to manufacture film in the all-digital era...
- Closet Children by Benoît Jacquot
New print with the support of the French Cinematheque
- Flesh of the Orchid by Patrice Chéreau
New restored print thanks to the film Archives and film producer Vincent Malle
- Shadow of the Castles by Daniel Duval
New restored print thanks to producer Michel Seydoux.

This retrospective was made possible with the support of Kodak.