Veteran French Cinematographer Pierre Lhomme Dies at 89

Celebrated French cinematographer Pierre Lhomme has passed away at the age of 89. A veteran of the French film industry, Lhomme was director of photography on many classics like Jean-Pierre Melville’s “Army Of Shadows” (1969), Jean Eustache’s “The Mother And The Whore” (1973), Bruno Nuytten’s “Camille Claudelle” (1988) and Jean-Paul Rappeneau’ Academy Award-winning “Cyrano De Bergerac” (1990). It’s reported by the Lumiere Institute in France Lhomme passed away on Thursday.

Lhomm’es career spanned fifty years, with his first credits being short films before shooting his debut feature, 1958’s “The Amorous Corporal.” In 1981 he shot the James Ivory-directed, “Quartet,” which was later nominated for a BAFTA. Rappeneau’s “Cyrano De Bergerac,” which Lhomme also shot, won an Academy Award for costume design. His last work was in 2003’s “The Divorce,” directed by Oscar winner James Ivory (“Call Me By Your Name”) and starring Naomi Watts and Kate Hudson.

Lhomme was nominated for seven Cesar Awards, winning two of those for “Cyrano De Bergerac” and “Camille Claudelle.” Lhomme’s work in “Army of Shadows” has carried on a legacy for the cinematographer, to an extent that he revisited and helped restore the Melville film, a war drama about the resistance soldiers in Nazi-occupied France. In a retrospective interview with the DoP, he recounts the care and insight:

“In restoring the film, which was a delicate and difficult job, I tried to capture the film we’d made,  also the film we’d dreamed of making. I tried to remain faithful to how I remembered it, because there weren’t any useable copies left.

“I now believe this film has a place at the summit of what’s considered “classic cinema.” In addition to the story, which is fascinating, it’s wonderful filmmaking. I admire the direction, the choice of shots, the way scenes were handled. I realized these things while restoring the film, not in the heat of the moment, during filming. Thirty-seven years later, I was dazzled by what I saw. I wasn’t dazzled while shooting it. I had too much on my mind. “

Have you seen any of the French classics shot by veteran Pierre Lhomme? Share your thoughts down in the comments section!