|Raoul Coutard in front of--and behind--the camera in Contempt (dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1963).|
Consider Raoul Coutard's resume: he shot Z, Lola, Chronicle of a Summer, three films for Truffaut (including Jules and Jim), and sixteen for Godard (including Breathless, Vivre Sa Vie, and Weekend). The black and white films are moody, sensuous; rainy-day gray tones have perhaps never looked more romantic than in a film like Bande a Part. The color films are luscious, ripe, and brilliant; witness the pop-art brightness of Pierrot Le Fou and Made in USA, or Contempt, arguably his masterpiece, a film drenched in Mediterranean sunlight. It's also the film in which he briefly appears onscreen--as himself (see above).
His death marks the loss of one of the last remaining figures of the French New Wave. The films still glow.