Claude LeLouch (b. 1937)
Claude LeLouch (born 30 October 1937) is a French film director, writer, cinematographer, actor and producer.
Born in the 9th arrondissement of Paris to a Jewish family of Algerian origin, LeLouch won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966 for Un homme et une femme (A Man and a Woman), as well as two oscars including best foreign language film. The 1981 musical epic Les Uns et les Autres is widely considered as his masterpiece, and his credits now add up to 50 or so films. His father gave him a camera to give him a fresh start after his failure in the baccalaureat. He started his career with reportage - one of the first to film daily life in the U.S.S.R., the camera hidden under his coat as he made his personal journey. He also filmed sporting events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Tour de France. His first full length film as director, Le Propre de l'homme, was decried by the critics - 'Claude LeLouch, remember this name well, because you will not hear it again' - Cahiers du Cinema said. La Femme Spectacle (1963), following prostitutes, women shopping, going for nose-jobs, was censored for its misogynist tendency. Un homme et une femme changed his fortunes and was met with favour even by the Cahiers group. Legend has it that LeLouch found himself one morning on the beach at Deauville when he caught sight of a young woman and her child on the sand. He thought about her story, tried to put together the story of how she had arrived at that moment. The scenario for the film was born. LeLouch set in place here some of the techniques of his filming he will use all his career. He used the locations for decor (here, the Grand Hotel at Deauville), recycled images from his old films (here, the 24 Hours of Le Mans), and used product placement as a means of financing his work (here, Jean-Louis Trintignant and his Ford Mustang.)
LeLouch is known for making movies based heavily on improvised dialogue.
He was arrested after his 1976 film, C'tait un rendez-vous, featuring a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 being illegally driven at high speed through the streets of Paris, was first shown publicly.
Recent claims made by the director himself, however, suggest he drove his own Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 in the film and dubbed the sound effects of a Ferrari 275GTB.
In recent years the public and the critics have seemed less interested in the director. The first part of his intended trilogy ' Le Genre Humain', 'Les Parisiens' was described in Paris Match as one of the most resounding flops of French cinema. Perhaps a director like Cedric Klapisch had replaced him in the hearts of the younger generation? LeLouch responded, ' It's true no doubt, my public has grown old. It stays home and watches television.'
He has collaborated on no fewer than 28 occasions with the composer Francis Lai. They scored a great hit with the piece 'chabadabada' for the film Un homme et une femme sung by Nicole Croisille and Pierre Barouh, and more than 300 versions of the song exist.
He is the father of 7 children and is currently married to Alessandra Martines.
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