Claude Lelouch

Active - 1960 - 2015  |   Born - Oct 30, 1937 in Paris, France  |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Crime

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The son of an Algerian Jewish confectioner, French director Claude Lelouch was billing himself as a "cinereporter" when he made his first short documentary films in the mid-1950s. In 1960, he formed Les Films 13 productions, where he produced over two hundred "scopiotones" -- short musical films designed for jukebox use, much like the "Soundies" produced in the U.S. in the 1940s and 1950s. He produced, directed, wrote and acted in his first feature, The Right of Man, in 1960. His first international hit, Un Homme et Une Femme -- aka A Man and a Woman -- captivated audiences with its warmth and simplicity. It also caused the auteurists to fall over themselves finding hidden meaning in this old-fashioned romance; when asked the subtextual purpose of shifting between black-and-white and color in some scenes, Lelouch explained that he'd run out of money towards the end of production and couldn't afford color film stock.

Winning a Palm d'Or at Cannes and a Grand Prix award for A Man and a Woman, Lelouch was briefly the most popular and influential director in Europe. Many of his subsequent films dealt with the symbiotic relationship between sex and crime, or sex and politics, or crime and politics: in short, he was the perfect commercial filmmaker. In the 1970s and 1980s, Lelouch fell into the rut of attempting to repeat his past successes. Films like And Now My Love (1974), Another Man, Another Chance (1977) and Live for Life (1984) were basically variations of A Man and a Woman. As for Claude Lelouch's 1986 effort A Man and a Woman: Twenty Years Later, the title tells all.

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