Nestor Almendros


Director Of Photography

About

Also Known As
John Nestor
Birth Place
Barcelona, ES
Born
October 30, 1930
Died
March 04, 1992
Cause of Death
Aids-Induced Lymphoma

Biography

Award-winning international cinematographer who rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s. Almendros' crisp black-and-white style recalled the early silent masters and he also did brilliant color work for Francois Truffaut (eight features, from 1969's "The Wild Child" to 1982's "Confidentially Yours") and Eric Rohmer (the black-and-white "My Night at Maud's" in 1969 and the sun-dappled "Cl...

Bibliography

"A Man With a Camera"
Nestor Almendros, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (1980)

Notes

"Most cameramen are technicians or liars. When started, I found that my job consisted principally in de-lighting sets, that is removing all the fake, conventioanl movie lighting that had been set up by lighting technicians. They were old-fashioned. They believed in a very glossy kind of photography, that faces should never be in a shadow, that there should always be a lot of back lighting, with no shadows in the sets anywhere." --Nestor Almendros in a 1971 interview (quoted in his The New York Times obituary, March 5, 1992).

Named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government (1976)

Biography

Award-winning international cinematographer who rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s. Almendros' crisp black-and-white style recalled the early silent masters and he also did brilliant color work for Francois Truffaut (eight features, from 1969's "The Wild Child" to 1982's "Confidentially Yours") and Eric Rohmer (the black-and-white "My Night at Maud's" in 1969 and the sun-dappled "Claire's Knee" in 1970). During this period, Almendros collaborated with producer-director Barbet Schroeder on "More" (1969), "Maitresse" (1975) and the documentaries "General Idi Amin Dada" (1974) and "Koko, the Talking Gorilla" (1978).

By the mid-70s Almendros was alternating between major American films and projects for European directors. With his Oscar-winning work on Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven" (1978), Almendros introduced a completely natural look to his films, eschewing traditional studio lighting, filters and trickery for use of existing natural light in such features as "The Blue Lagoon" (1980) and "Sophie's Choice" (1982).

In the 80s, while continuing to create luminous images for the likes of Robert Benton and Martin Scorsese, Almendros also directed two piercing interview-documentaries about political repression and human rights violations in Cuba: "Improper Conduct" (1983, with Orlando Jimenez-Leal) and "Nobody Listened" (1988, with Jorge Ulla). He authored an acclaimed book on cinematography, "A Man With A Camera" (1980).

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Nadie Escuchaba (1988)
Director
Mauvaise Conduite (1984)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)
Himself

Cinematography (Feature Film)

Billy Bathgate (1991)
Director Of Photography
New York Stories (1989)
Director Of Photography
Imagine: John Lennon (1988)
Director Of Photography
Nadine (1987)
Director Of Photography
Heartburn (1986)
Director Of Photography
Places In The Heart (1984)
Director Of Photography
Confidentially Yours (1983)
Cinematographer
Pauline at the Beach (1983)
Camera
Sophie's Choice (1982)
Director Of Photography
Still of the Night (1982)
Director Of Photography
The Last Metro (1980)
Director Of Photography
The Blue Lagoon (1980)
Director Of Photography
Love on the Run (1979)
Director Of Photography
Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
Director Of Photography
Goin' South (1978)
Director Of Photography
Perceval le gallois (1978)
Director Of Photography
The Green Room (1978)
Cinematographer
Koko: A Talking Gorilla (1978)
Director Of Photography
Days of Heaven (1978)
Director Of Photography
Madame Rosa (1978)
Director Of Photography
The Man Who Loved Women (1977)
Director Of Photography
The Marquise of O (1976)
Director Of Photography
Des journees entieres dans les arbres (1976)
Director Of Photography
Cambio de Sexo (1976)
Director Of Photography
Maitresse (1975)
Director Of Photography
Gentleman Tramp (1975)
Cinematographer
Mes Petites Amoureuses (1975)
Director Of Photography
The Story of Adele H (1975)
Director Of Photography
Femmes Au Soleil (1974)
Cinematographer
Cockfighter (1974)
Director Of Photography
General Idi Amin Dada (1974)
Director Of Photography
La Gueule ouverte (1974)
Director Of Photography
L'Oiseau Rare (1973)
Cinematographer
Poil de Carotte (1973)
Cinematographer
Dubuffet (1972)
Cinematographer
Love in the Afternoon (1972)
Director Of Photography
La Vallee (1972)
Director Of Photography
Two English Girls (1971)
Director Of Photography
The Wild Child (1970)
Director of Photography
My Night at Maud's (1970)
Director of Photography
Bed & Board (1970)
Director Of Photography
Claire's Knee (1970)
Director Of Photography
More (1969)
Director of Photography
The Wild Racers (1968)
Director of Photography
Six in Paris (1968)
Photographer for "Saint-Germain-Designer-Prés" and "Place de l'Etoile"
La Collectionneuse (1967)
Cinematographer

Writer (Feature Film)

Nadie Escuchaba (1988)
Screenplay
Mauvaise Conduite (1984)
Screenplay

Producer (Feature Film)

Nadie Escuchaba (1988)
Producer

Art Director (Feature Film)

More (1969)
Art Director

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (1992)
Other
Imagine: John Lennon (1988)
Other
Heartburn (1986)
Dp/Cinematographer
Still of the Night (1982)
Dp/Cinematographer
Sophie's Choice (1982)
Dp/Cinematographer
The Last Metro (1980)
Dp/Cinematographer
The Blue Lagoon (1980)
Dp/Cinematographer
Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
Dp/Cinematographer
Days of Heaven (1978)
Dp/Cinematographer
The Green Room (1978)
Dp/Cinematographer
General Idi Amin Dada (1974)
Dp/Cinematographer

Director (Special)

Castro's Cuba: Two Views (1990)
Director ("Nobody Listened")

Cast (Special)

Castro's Cuba: Two Views (1990)

Producer (Special)

The Longest Shadow (1992)
Associate Producer

Director (Short)

Ritmo de Cuba (1960)
Director

Cinematography (Short)

A Modern Coed (1966)
Cinematographer
Nadja in Paris (1964)
Cinematographer
Ritmo de Cuba (1960)
Cinematographer
Assamblea general (1960)
Cinematographer

Life Events

1948

Moved to Cuba after WWII, following his father who had moved there at the end of the Spanish Civil War

1961

Directed two non-government sponsored shorts, "Gente en la Playa" and "La Tumba Francesca"; banned by the government

1962

Moved to Paris

1964

First collaboration with Eric Rohmer, the short "Nadia a Paris"

1965

Visited location of "Paris vu par.../Six in Paris" on day that cinematographer walked off in a dispute; volunteered to take over and was hired as director of photography for the Eric Rohmer and Jean Douchet episodes of the omnibus feature

1966

Made shorts and directed documentaries for educational television

1966

First feature as sole director of photography, Rohmer's "La Collectionneuse"; went on to make eight more films with Rohmer

1967

Co-shot first US film, "The Wild Racers" in France

1969

First of nine films with director Francois Truffaut, "The Wild Child"

1974

Went to USA to film Monte Hellman's "Cockfighter/Born to Kill"

1975

Created the appropriate atmosphere through meticulous use of light for Truffaut's study of obsessive love "L'Histoire d'Adele H./The Story of Adele H."

1978

Won an Oscar for his lyrical work on Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven"

1979

Earned second Academy Award nomination for his pristine cinematography for "Kramer vs. Kramer"; first of five films with director Robert Benton

1980

Shot "The Blue Lagoon"; received third Oscar nomination

1982

Served as director of photography for "Sophie's Choice"; earned fourth Oscar nomination

1983

Final collaboration with Truffaut, "Confidentially Yours"

1984

Shot Richard Avedon directed-commercials for Calvin Klein

1984

Was cinematographer on Benton's semi-autobiographical "Places in the Heart"

1990

Served as director of photography for the Martin Scorsese's short about Giorgio Armani, "Made in Milan"

1991

Last film as cinematographer, "Billy Bathgate", directed by Benton; also shot (uncredited) the photo-booth sequence in "The Mambo Kings" (1992)

Videos

Movie Clip

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) - I'm Leaving You Ad man Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) comes home to wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) in their Manhattan apartment, about to announce that she's leaving, their first scene together, early in Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) - Is He Gonna Lose His Eye? The big action sequence, as divorcing dad Ted (Dustin Hoffman) is chatting with Margaret (Jane Alexander) and Billy (Justin Henry) has an accident, on a Manhattan playground in Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979.
Last Metro, The (1980) - You Were My First Choice Actor Bernard (Gerard Depardieu) first eavesdropping then with manager Pottins (Jean Poiret) then theater owner Marion (Catherine Deneuve), seeking work in occupied Paris, in Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro, 1980.
Last Metro, The (1980) - My Brother In Law Is A Jew Actor and resistance supporter Bernard (Gerard Depardieu) watches as his boss Marion (Catherine Deneuve) slips away, visiting her Jewish husband Lucas (Heinz Bennent), hiding out in Nazi-occupied Paris, in Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro, 1980.
Last Metro, The (1980) - Paris, September 1942 Opening sequence narrated by the director, and first scene introducing Gerard Depardieu as actor "Bernard Granger," from Francois Truffaut's international hit The Last Metro, 1980, also starring Catherine Deneuve.
Places In The Heart (1984) - I'll Shoot You Myself Texas, 1934, newly widowed Edna (Sally Field) visits her sister (Lindsay Crouse) sort of looking for work, then receives Moze (Danny Glover), an able farm hand who stole from her, and deputy Jack (Jerry Haynes) in Places In The Heart, 1984.
Places In The Heart (1984) - Try To Make A Good Impression Denby (Lane Smith), whose bank holds her mortgage and who has counseled newly-widowed Edna (Sally Field) to sell, arrives with an unexpected proposition, and his brother-in-law (John Malkovich, his first scene), in depression-era Texas, in Robert Benton’s Places In The Heart, 1984.
My Night At Maud's (1969) - Lord, I Am Unworthy We know little about Jean-Louis Trintignant’s character, Jean-Louis, except that he seems to be a bachelor and he’s gone to church (at the Cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand, France), where he sees a blonde (Marie-Christine Barrault) he’s never met, early in My Night At Maud’s, 1969, the international hit and third film in Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales.
My Night At Maud's (1969) - That Way To Unthinking Belief Visiting professor “Jean-Louis” (Trintignant) on a quiet Christmas-time social evening in Clermont-Ferrand, sees the girl from church (Marie-Christine Barrault) again, then runs into an old friend, a fellow academic, Vidal (Antoine Vitez), in Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s, 1969.
My Night At Maud's (1969) - Two Cases Of Protracted Adolescence At the shank of their impromptu social evening, it sounds like professor Vidal (Antoine Vitez) and old pal Jean-Louis (Trintignant) won’t be going to see his friend Maud (Francoise Fabian), but they do, thus creating the central premise in director Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s, 1969.
My Night At Maud's (1969) - It's Better That Things Be Impossible The friend who brought them together has just left, and divorceè Maud (Francoise Fabian) is persuading bachelor Jean-Louis (Trintignant) to stick around, beginning the conversation that occupies most of the film, in Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s, 1969, the third title in his Six Moral Tales.
Days Of Heaven (1978) - Going On Adventures Linda Manz (as little sister "Linda") narrating as she accompanies Bill (Richard Gere) and Abby (Brooke Adams) from Chicago to the great plains, early in Terrence Malick's celebrated Days Of Heaven, 1978.

Trailer

Family

Herminio Almendros
Father
University professor. Republican Loyalist who left Spain for Havana after the Spanish Civil War.
Maria Almendros
Mother
Teacher.
Sergio Almendros
Brother
Maria Rosa Almendros
Sister

Bibliography

"A Man With a Camera"
Nestor Almendros, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (1980)

Notes

"Most cameramen are technicians or liars. When started, I found that my job consisted principally in de-lighting sets, that is removing all the fake, conventioanl movie lighting that had been set up by lighting technicians. They were old-fashioned. They believed in a very glossy kind of photography, that faces should never be in a shadow, that there should always be a lot of back lighting, with no shadows in the sets anywhere." --Nestor Almendros in a 1971 interview (quoted in his The New York Times obituary, March 5, 1992).

Named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government (1976)