Leacock, Richard

Leacock, Richard,

1921–2011, Anglo-American filmmaker, b. London. A key figure in the development of cinéma véritécinéma vérité,
a style of filmmaking that attempts to convey candid realism. Often employing lightweight, hand-held cameras and sound equipment, it shows people in everyday situations and uses authentic dialogue, naturalness of action, and a minimum of
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, he also helped create the camera and sound equipment that made the style possible. Raised on his father's Canary Islands banana plantation, Leacock made his first documentary, the short Canary Bananas, in 1935. He left Harvard (1942) to become a combat cameraman, and later assisted Robert FlahertyFlaherty, Robert Joseph
, 1884–1951, American explorer and film producer. He was born in Michigan and grew up in Canada. He explored (1910–16) subarctic E Canada and in 1922 completed the first feature-length documentary film, Nanook of the North.
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 in making Louisiana Story (1948). Leacock made dozens of films. many originally for television. Among his best-known works are Primary (1960), a record of the Wisconsin Kennedy vs. Humphrey Democratic primary; Crisis (1963), on the desegregation confrontation between President Kennedy and Gov. George Wallace; A Stravinsky Portrait (1965); and Monterey Pop (1968). He also taught (1968–88) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among his later films are the lighthearted Les Oeufs à la Coque de Richard Leacock (1991) and his last work, A Musical Adventure in Siberia (2000). Leacock has greatly influenced later documentarians and TruffautTruffaut, François
, 1932–84, French film director and critic. Known in his early 20s as a writer for the influential French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma,
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, CassavetesCassavetes, John
1929–89, American film actor and director, a pioneer of independent filmmaking, b. New York City. The son of Greek immigrants, he attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and began his acting career in 1950s television.
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, ScorseseScorsese, Martin
, 1942–, American film director; b. Queens, N.Y. A major figure in contemporary cinema, he grew up in Manhattan's Little Italy, attended film school at New York Univ.
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, and other directors.


See J. Weiner, dir., On "Being There" with Richard Leacock (documentary, 2010).

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