- Richard Leacock
Richard Leacock (born 18 July 1921,
London) is a documentary filmdirector and one of the pioneers of Direct Cinema.
Leacock (known to his friends as "Ricky") grew up on a banana plantation in the
Canary Islands(the Leacock family, though English, have long been involved in the production of Madeira wineand bananas in the Spanish and Portuguese islands), until shipped off to School in England. He attended Bedales School, then Dartington HallSchool from 1929 to 1938, where he helped form a student film unit, and made his first film, "Canary Island Bananas", an eight-minute silent film.
To learn more about the technical basis of filmmaking, he studied physics at
Harvard University. During the war he was a combat photographer for the U.S. army. In 1946 Robert Flahertyhired him as cameraman for " Louisiana Story". In the early 1960s Leacock, Robert Drew, D.A. Pennebakerand others founded Drew Associates. Pennebaker had also a technical background and Drew worked as producer. Together they developed a new style of filmmaking based on synchronous sound and the use of lightweight cameras.
Leacock left Drew Associates in 1963 to found his own production firm, together with Pennebaker. In 1969 he became head of the film department at
MIT, which he chaired until 1988. In the 1980s he was still interested in the technical aspects of filmmaking and produced videos for French television.
In its most naive formulation, direct cinema was an attempt to film "life as it is." But Leacock is not a naive filmmaker. In 1988 he concluded an interview with the following remarks:
"I have been starting to think about documentary filmmaking instead of just doing it, and I think that for a long time I have been teaching things that I don't really believe in. My thinking has changed a lot. I'm not sure how to teach documentary filmmaking, I'm even not sure what documentaries are. I think that for me I'm beginning to pay more attention to what I want and less attention to what people want me to do. In many respects I begin to think that most of my life I have filmed the wrong things and more and more I am beginning to regret it."
*"Canary Island Bananas" (1935)
Louisiana Story" (1948) directed by Robert J. Flaherty, cinematography by Leacock
*"Brussels Loops" (1957) codirected with
Shirley Clarke, Wheaton Galentine, and D. A. Pennebaker
*"A Happy Mother’s Day" (1963) co-directed with
*"Lambert, Hendricks & Co." (1964) codirected with D. A. Pennebaker
*"A Stravinsky Portrait" (1966) codirected with
*"Rebuilding an Old Japanese House" (1981) codirected with
*"Community of Praise" (1982) codirected with
*"Lulu in Berlin" (1984) codirected with
Susan Woll- Louise Brookstalks about her collaboration with Georg Wilhelm Pabst
*"Les Vacances de Monsieur Leacock" (1992) codirected with
*"Rehearsal: The Killings of Cariola" (1992) codirected with Valérie Lalonde
*"Gott sei Dank - Ein Besuch bei Helga Feddersen" (1993)
*"Félix et Josephine" (1993)
*"A Celebration of Saint Silas" (1993)
*"A Hole in the Sea" (1994)
*"A Musical Adventure in Siberia" (2000) codirected with Valérie Lalonde
Films about Leacock
* "Ein Film für Bossak und Leacock" (1984) - German documentarist
Klaus Wildenhahn's homage to Richard Leacock and Jerzy Bossak
*Leacock (1988), "Interview" in: Mo Beyerle, Christine N. Brinckmann (editors), Der amerikanische Dokumentarfilm der 60er Jahre. Direct Cinema und Radical Cinema, Frankfurt am Main, New York: Campus, 1991, p. 124-133
*Mamber, Stephen (1974), Cinéma Vérité in America. Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary, Cambridge, Mass.
*Dave Saunders, "Direct Cinema: Observational Documentary and the Politics of the Sixties", London, Wallflower Press 2007
* [http://www.richardleacock.com/ RichardLeacock.com]
* [http://www.variety.com/profiles/people/main/626135/Richard%20Leacock.html?dataSet=1 Richard Leacock - Actor, Camera, Cinematographer - Variety Profiles]
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