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Nestor Almendros – A Man with A Camera

Nestor Almendros Nestor

In 1992, NĂ©stor Almendros died of AIDS in New York at age 61

A Man with A Camera a great book by Nestor Almendros – a must read for cinema lovers.

Nestor Almendros was born on October 30, 1930 in Barcelona.. later moved to Cuba.

“Almendros was an artist of deep integrity, who believed the most beautiful light was natural light…he will always be remembered as a cinematographer of absolute truth…a true master of light”

Malick hired Nestor after seeing “Wild Child’ by Francois Truffaut. He liked the feeling of silent cinema from Nestor’s camera treatment.

“My job was to simplify the photography, to purify it of all the artificial effects of the recent past,” said Almendros. To that end, he and Malick studied the silent films of Griffith and Chaplin, they used real firelight to illuminate faces, they recreated the arid loneliness of Andrew Wyeth and the inviting interior warmth of Edward Hopper, they achieved all of their special effects in the camera. For the stunning shot in the locusts sequence where the insects ascend to the sky, they dropped peanut shells from helicopters and had their actors walk backwards while running the film in reverse through the camera. When it was projected everything moved forward except the locusts! (Movie Maker)

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(via Your 100 favorite Cinematographers)

List of Nestor Almendros’ filmography
(Notable with his collaboration with Truffaut, Rohmer, Barbet Schroeder.. he filmed Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs Kramer.. etc. )

In his later years, Almendros co-directed two documentaries about the human rights situation in Cuba, Mauvaise Conduite (1984) (Improper Conduct) about the persecution of gay people in Cuba, and Nadie escuchaba (Nobody Was Listening) about the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of former comrades of Fidel Castro.

Nestor who was educated in Cuba was a friend of Reinaldo Arenas who appears in this film (part 5)

Imporoper Conduct reviewed by Vincent Canby

The witnesses in ”Improper Conduct” include distinguished writers, journalists, playwrights, doctors, poets and painters, as well as more ordinary folk such as tour guides and hairdressers, a number of whom spent time in one or more of the country’s forced-labor camps.

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Susan Sontag and Nestor Almendros

Susan Sontag, the American critic and a former supporter of the Castro regime, describes the Castro campaign against homosexuals as ”a heritage, in a way a ‘Puritan’ one, that is deeply embedded in the morals of the Left.” She continues: ”The discovery that homosexuals were being persecuted in Cuba shows, I think, how much the Left needs to evolve.”

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