Roger Leenhardt

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Roger Leenhardt (23 July 1903 – 4 December 1985) was a French writer and filmmaker.


Early life

Born in a bourgeois Protestant family, this brilliant student of philosophy was very soon fascinated by cinema. Through a cousin, he started working for the newsreel program Éclair Journal and in 1934 set up his own production company with René Zuber, "Les Films du Compas," later known as, "Roger Leenhardt Films.”

A production company, production house, production studio, or a production team provides the physical basis for works in the realms of the performing arts, new media art, film, television, radio, comics, interactive arts, video games, websites, and video. Production teams are a group of technical staff who produce the media, generally the term refers to all individuals responsible for the technical aspects of creating of a particular product, regardless of where in the process their expertise is required, or how long they are involved in the project. For example, in a theatrical performance, the production team includes not only the running crew, but also the theatrical producer, designers and theatre direction.


As a critic in the journal Esprit , he was considered one of the most perceptive observers of pre-war France and strongly influenced André Bazin and the entire "Nouvelle Vague.”

<i>Esprit</i> (magazine) literary magazine

Esprit is a French literary magazine. The magazine also deals with current events.

André Bazin French film critic

André Bazin was a renowned and influential French film critic and film theorist.

Thanks to his series of articles known as "La petite école du spectateur," cinema became considered as an art and a language in its own right. Leenhardt also contributed to other journals, such as Fontaine, Les Lettres Françaises, and l'Ecran français, in which in 1948 he delivered his famous cry, "Down with Ford! Long Live Wyler!"

In 1949, he fostered the creation of the cinema club Objectif 49 of which he was the co-president with Robert Bresson and Jean Cocteau. Destined to promote a new cinema d'auteur, the club resulted in the creation in Biarritz of the Festival of Cursed Films [Festival des Films Maudits]. Beginning in the 1950s he presided over the French Association for the Promotion of Cinema [Association française pour la diffusion du cinéma] which organized a traveling festival, Cinéma Days [Les Journées du cinéma] (1953–1960). Finally, in 1955 Leenhardt participated in the creation in Tours of the International Days of Film [Journées internationales du film] which became the Festival of Tours. Specialized in short films, the festival brought together the foremost filmmakers, including François Truffaut, Chris Marker, Agnès Varda, Jacques Demy, Roman Polanski, Robert Enrico, and others.

Robert Bresson was a French film director. Known for his ascetic approach, Bresson contributed notably to the art of cinema; his non-professional actors, ellipses, and sparse use of scoring have led his works to be regarded as preeminent examples of minimalist film.

Jean Cocteau French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager and filmmaker

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was a French poet, writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929), and the films The Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949). He was described as "one of [the] avant-garde's most successful and influential filmmakers" by AllMovie.

François Truffaut French film director

François Roland Truffaut was a French film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film critic. He is widely regarded as one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry, having worked on over 25 films. Truffaut's film The 400 Blows came to be a defining film of the French New Wave movement, and was followed by four sequels, Antoine et Colette, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, and Love on the Run, between 1958 and 1979.

His documentary works are numerous and include the creation of more than 60 short films and the production of a similar number. There are two main categories of his work: Portraits of great writers (e.g. François Mauriac, Paul Valéry, Victor Hugo, etc.), and portraits of famous painters (e.g., Monet, Pissarro, Bazile, etc.). He also made a film on the origins of photography (Daguerre ou la Naissance de la photographie, 1964) and another on the invention of cinema (Naissance du cinéma, 1946), a masterpiece of pedagogical and intelligence. Privileging his artist vision, Leenhardt made only three feature-length fiction films: Les Dernières Vacances  (fr ) (1948), Le Rendez-vous de minuit  (fr ) (1961), and, for television, Une fille dans la montagne (1964).

François Mauriac French author

François Charles Mauriac was a French novelist, dramatist, critic, poet, and journalist, a member of the Académie française, and laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1952). He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur in 1958. He was a lifelong Catholic.

Paul Valéry French poet, essayist, and philosopher

Ambroise Paul Toussaint Jules Valéry was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher. In addition to his poetry and fiction, his interests included aphorisms on art, history, letters, music, and current events. Valéry was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 12 different years.

Victor Hugo French poet, novelist, and dramatist

Victor Marie Hugo was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers. Outside France, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, 1831. In France, Hugo is known primarily for his poetry collections, such as Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles.

Moreover, Roger Leenhardt appeared in three films as an actor. In Les Dernières vacances, he is the teacher. Jean-Luc Godard chose him to be the character "Intelligence" in Une femme mariée (1964) and François Truffaut chose him as the publisher in L'Homme qui aimait les femmes (1977).

Jean-Luc Godard French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic

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Jean Lacouture French writer

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<i>Cahiers du cinéma</i> magazine

Cahiers du Cinéma is a French film magazine founded in 1951 by André Bazin, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, and Joseph-Marie Lo Duca. It developed from the earlier magazine Revue du Cinéma involving members of two Paris film clubs—Objectif 49 and Ciné-Club du Quartier Latin.

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