Boris Kaufman

Active - 1930 - 2015  |   Born - Jan 1, 1906   |   Died - Jan 1, 1980   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama

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Cinematographer Boris Kaufman was born in Poland, the youngest son of a Russian librarian. Kaufman was at the forefront of the "experimental" film movement by right of birth: his older brothers were filmmakers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman. While his brothers established themselves in the Soviet film industry, Kaufman set up shop in Paris, where he'd been educated. He was director of photography on all the major works of influential French director Jean Vigo, whose death in 1934 left Kaufman temporarily rudderless. Relocating to the U.S. in 1942, Kaufman had to spend several years lensing U.S. and Canadian documentaries and government films before he was permitted to climb back up the ladder to feature films. He won an Academy Award for his first Hollywood feature On the Waterfront (1954), which set the standard for the stark, naturalistic black-and-white photography that would be the hallmark of his future work. In 1956, Kaufman was Oscar-nominated for his work on Baby Doll (1956). He made a rare foray into Technicolor for 1961's Splendor in the Grass, then returned to his true monochromatic metier. Kaufman was a favorite of director Sidney Lumet, who engaged the cinematographer's services for 12 Angry Men (1957), Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962), The Pawnbroker (1965) and many other choice projects. Boris Kaufman retired in 1970, after working on Otto Preminger's Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970).

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