Farewell, Pierre Schoendoerffer
by Fabien Lemercier
14/03/2012 - An emblematic director, notably for having brought the Indochina War, a conflict that he witnessed as an army cameraman and then as a journalist, to the silver screen, French director Pierre Schoendoerffer died this morning in the region of Paris.
His first feature film The Devil’s Pass (an adaptation by French writer Joseph Kessel) in 1956 was selected for Berlin, and marked the beginning of a fruitful association with the brilliant director of photography, Raoul Coutard. Schoendoerffer then followed on with Ramuntcho and Island Fishermen, two adaptations of novels by Pierre Loti. But only in 1965 did he become famous internationally with the award for Best Screenplay in Cannes with 317the Platoon. In 1967, he added an Oscar to his collection for best documentary with The Anderson Platoon. He then adapted his own novel Drummer-Crab (Le crabe tambour), sweeping away three César awards in 1978. He then followed with A Captain’s Honor (1982), Dien Bien Phu (1992) and Above the Clouds (2004).