Screenwriter, Film director
1903 – 1985
Who was Roger Leenhardt?
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, “Les Films du Compas,” later known as, “Roger Leenhardt Films.”
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].
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