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Néstor Almendros

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Néstor Almendros
Néstor Almendros Cuyás

(1930-10-30)30 October 1930
Barcelona, Spain
Died4 March 1992(1992-03-04) (aged 61)
OrganizationAmerican Society of Cinematographers

Néstor Almendros Cuyás, ASC (30 October 1930 – 4 March 1992) was a Spanish cinematographer. One of the most highly appraised contemporary cinematographers, "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".[1]

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  • Cinematography by Néstor Almendros
  • Videoclip I.E.S. Néstor Almendros 2011-2012
  • Days of Heaven - Bill and Abby


Early life

Néstor Almendros Cuyás was born in Barcelona, Spain, but at the age of 18, he moved to Cuba to join his exiled anti-Francisco Franco father. In Havana, he wrote film reviews. Then, he went on to study in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. He directed six shorts in Cuba and two in New York City.


Early Career

After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, he returned and made several documentaries for the Castro regime. But, after two of his shorts (Gente en la playa and La tumba francesa) were banned, he moved to Paris.


Starting in 1964, he became the favorite collaborator of French New Wave director Éric Rohmer. In the early seventies, he also started working with François Truffaut, Barbet Schroeder and other directors.

Almendros’ collaborations with Rohmer would prove particularly fruitful, and are considered amongst the finest works of both men. These include the four feature length works from Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales series, La Collectionneuse (1967), My Night at Maud’s (1969), Claire’s Knee (1970), and Love in the Afternoon (1972), in addition to La Marquise d'O... (1976), Perceval le Gallois (1978), and Pauline at the Beach (1983).


Almendros began his Hollywood career with Days of Heaven (1978), written and directed by Terrence Malick, who admired Almendros' work on Truffaut’s The Wild Child (1970). Almendros was impressed by Malick's knowledge of photography and his willingness to use little studio lighting. The film's cinematography was modeled after silent films, which often used natural light.[2] In 1979, Almendros won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Days of Heaven.[3]

Almendros received three further Academy Award nominations for his work on Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), The Blue Lagoon (1980) and Sophie's Choice (1982),[4] making him the most nominated Spanish person in Academy history as of the 93rd Academy Awards in 2021.

Almendros was the cinematographer for the John Lennon documentary, Imagine: John Lennon (1988), directed by Andrew Solt.

Later Career

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 alleged arrest, imprisonment and torture of former comrades of Fidel Castro. He also shot several prestigious advertisements for Giorgio Armani (directed by Martin Scorsese), Calvin Klein (directed by Richard Avedon) and Freixenet.

Legacy and honors

Human Rights Watch International has named an award after him by establishing the Nestor Almendros Award for Courage in Filmmaking and it is given every year at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival.[5]

In 1980, Almendros won the César Award for François Truffaut's The Last Metro.[6]


In 1992, Néstor Almendros died of AIDS-related lymphoma in New York City at the age of 61.[7][8][9]


Director of photography

Short films

Year Title Director Notes
1950 Una confusión cotidiana Himself
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea
1964 Nadja à Paris Éric Rohmer
1965 Saint-Germain-des-Prés Jean Douchet Segments of Six in Paris
Place de l'Etoile Éric Rohmer
1989 Life Lessons Martin Scorsese Segment of New York Stories

Feature films

Year Title Director Notes
1967 La Collectionneuse Éric Rohmer
1968 The Wild Racers Daniel Haller
1969 More Barbet Schroeder
My Night at Maud's Éric Rohmer
The Gun Runner Richard Compton With Arch Archambault
1970 The Wild Child François Truffaut
Paddy Daniel Haller Uncredited
Bed and Board François Truffaut
Claire's Knee Éric Rohmer
1971 Two English Girls François Truffaut
1972 La Vallée Barbet Schroeder
Love in the Afternoon Éric Rohmer
1973 L'oiseau rare Jean-Claude Brialy
Poil de carotte Henri Graziani
1974 The Mouth Agape Maurice Pialat
Femmes au soleil Liliane Dreyfus
Cockfighter Monte Hellman
My Little Loves Jean Eustache
1975 The Story of Adele H. François Truffaut
1976 Maîtresse Barbet Schroeder
Die Marquise von O... Éric Rohmer
Des journées entières dans les arbres Marguerite Duras
1977 The Man Who Loved Women François Truffaut
Change of Sex Vicente Aranda
La vie devant soi Moshé Mizrahi
1978 The Green Room François Truffaut
Days of Heaven Terrence Malick
Goin' South Jack Nicholson
Perceval le Gallois Éric Rohmer
1979 Love on the Run François Truffaut
Kramer vs. Kramer Robert Benton
1980 The Blue Lagoon Randal Kleiser
The Last Metro François Truffaut
1982 Still of the Night Robert Benton
Sophie's Choice Alan J. Pakula
1983 Pauline at the Beach Éric Rohmer
Confidentially Yours François Truffaut
1984 Places in the Heart Robert Benton
1986 Heartburn Mike Nichols
1987 Nadine Robert Benton
1991 Billy Bathgate


Year Title Director Notes
1971 La Brigade des maléfices Claude Guillemot Episode "La créature"

Documentary works

Short films

Year Title Director Notes
1959 El Tomate Fausto Canel
Cooperativas Agropecuarias
1960 Gente en la playa Himself
1966 Une étudiante d'aujourd'hui Éric Rohmer
1967 La journée d'un journaliste Himself
1971 Le cochon aux patates douces Barbet Schroeder
Sing Sing
1983 L'Assemblea de Catalunya Carlos Durán With Juan Amorós
1990 Made in Milan Martin Scorsese


Year Title Director Notes
1967 Fermière à Montfaucon Éric Rohmer TV short
1972 Chroniques de France Jacques Scandelari
Max Gérard
Jean-Daniel Simon
Episode "Chroniques de France N° 82"

Feature films

Year Title Director Notes
1974 General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait Barbet Schroeder
1975 The Gentleman Tramp Richard Patterson With Bruce Logan
1977 Beaubourg, centre d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou Roberto Rossellini
1978 Koko, le gorille qui parle Barbet Schroeder
1988 Imagine: John Lennon Andrew Solt


Short film

Year Title Notes
1950 Una confusión cotidiana Co-directed with Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

Documentary shorts

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1960 Gente en la playa Yes No Yes
Ritmo de Cuba Yes Yes No
1967 La journée d'un journaliste Yes No No
1968 Retour d'Henri Langlois à Paris Yes No No Co-directed with Bernard Eisenschitz

Documentary films

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1960 Escuelas rurales Yes No No
1984 Improper Conduct Yes Yes No Co-directed with Orlando Jiménez Leal
1987 Nadie escuchaba Yes No Yes Co-directed with Jorge Ulla

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year Title Category Result
1978 Days of Heaven Best Cinematography Won
1979 Kramer vs. Kramer Nominated
1980 The Blue Lagoon Nominated
1982 Sophie's Choice Nominated

César Awards

Year Title Category Result
1978 The Green Room Best Cinematography Nominated
1979 Perceval le Gallois Nominated
1980 The Last Metro Won

New York Film Critics Circle

Year Title Category Result
1982 Sophie's Choice Best Cinematographer Won
1984 Places in the Heart Nominated

See also


  1. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
  2. ^ Almendros 1986
  3. ^ "IMDbPro Official Site | Start Your Free Trial". Retrieved 2011-03-01.
  4. ^ "Néstor Almendros Awards". Retrieved 2011-03-01.
  5. ^ "Great Moments NESTOR ALMENDROS: THE INTERNATIONAL CINéASTE". Retrieved 2011-03-01.
  6. ^ César Award for Best Cinematography
  7. ^ Levine, Suzanne Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman: His Life and Fictions, University of Wisconsin Press 2001 p376
  8. ^ William H. Honan (5 March 1992). "Nestor Almendros, Cinematographer, Dies at 61". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  9. ^ Burt A. Folkart (5 March 1992). "Nestor Almendros, 61; Cinematographer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 December 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 November 2023, at 06:41
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