Néstor Almendros
Date of Birth
Oct 30, 1930
Birth Place:
Barcelona, Spain

Biography

While growing up in Barcelona, cinematographer Nestor Almendros and his friends spent their spare time making amateur movies. Almendros curbed his cinematic impulses long enough to major in philosophy and literature at Havana University, but he was back behind the camera in the film department of CCNY and at Rome's Centro Sperimente di Cinematografia. After briefly teaching Spanish at Vassar, Almendros returned to Cuba in 1959. He worked as a documentary director with Havana's ICAIC, but eventually grew weary of having his creativity rechannelled into pro-Castro propaganda. Moving to Paris in 1961, he worked on a number of TV programs and short subjects. Beginning with his camerawork for 1965's Six in Paris, Almendros inaugurated his long and rewarding collaboration with director Eric Rohmer, a teaming that yielded such splendid results as La Collectioneuse (1967) My Night at Maude's (1969) Claire's Knee (1970), Chloe in the Afternoon (1972), and Pauline at the Beach (1983). The hallmarks of Almendro's cinematic vision included his skill at perfectly matching a film's characters with their environment, and his fondness for diffused natural lighting. During his Rohmer period, Almendros also photographed several Francois Truffaut projects (The Wild Child, 2 English Girls, Story of Adele H, Man Who Loved Women and The Last Metro). An occasional visitor to Hollywood from 1978 on, Almendros worked extensively with director Robert Benton, winning an Oscar nomination for Benton's Places in the Heart (1983). Additional industry honors bestowed upon Almendros included France's Cesar award for The Last Metro (1980), another Academy Award nomination for Sophie's Choice (1981), and an Oscar win for Days of Heaven (1978). In the early 1980s, Almendros returned to directing, collaborating on two short films decrying Cuba's human rights violations: Improper Conduct (1983) and Nobody Listened (1988). He wrote his autobiography (A Man with a Camera) in 1980, and in 1987 was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Nestor Almendros died of lymphoma at the age of 61. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Provided by Rovi