Monday, September 10, 2007
Shooting Kinski #11 (Henri Decae)
Legendary cinematographer Henri Decae was nearing the end of his prolific career when he shot Nastassja in EXPOSED. He would pass away at the age of 72, just four years after Toback's film had its premiere.
The French born Decae shot his first film in 1949 working under the iconic and great French film master Jean Pierre Melville in LE SILENCE DE LA MER. The film would be the first of many Decae would lens for the great Melville with some other notable films for him being BOB LE FLAMBEUR (1956), LE SAMOURAI (1967) and LE CERCLE ROUGE (1970).
Deacae's most famous and influential work will always be linked with the French New Wave and his work for director's ranging from Claude Chabrol to Louis Malle to Francois Truffaut is among the best of the period. His work on Truffaut's 400 BLOWS (1959) alone makes him one of the most legendary of all cinematographers.
Henri photographed some of the most beautiful faces in screen history so it is fitting that one of his last assignments was shooting Kinski in possibly her loveliest period. With EXPOSED she joined the likes of Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, Jane Fonda and Al Pacino as being memorably captured by Decae's lens.
EXPOSED is not remember as being one of the most memorably shot of Henri's career but I have always admired his photography in it, especially in the cold and wintry New York scenes and of course the two startling black and white fades that bookend the film. EXPOSED would be the last major work for the master photographer with just a handful of minor productions following.
I believe a proper restored dvd release of EXPOSED would highlight how solid Deacae's work is in the film. His role not only went along thematically with Toback's New Wave leanings but I believe his work added another valuable layer to an already complex film.