Boris Kaufman

Boris Abelevich Kaufman, A.S.C. (Russian: Бори́с Абра́мович Ка́уфман; August 24, 1906 – June 24, 1980) was a cinematographer[1][2] and the younger brother of filmmakers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman.

Boris Kaufman
Boris Abelevich Kaufman

(1906-08-24)August 24, 1906
DiedJune 24, 1980(1980-06-24) (aged 73)
Alma materUniversity of Paris
RelativesDziga Vertov
Mikhail Kaufman

Life and career

Kaufman was born into a family of Jewish intellectuals in Białystok when Congress Poland was part of the Russian Empire. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Poland regained its independence, and Boris moved there with his parents. Mikhail and Denis, better known as Dziga Vertov, stayed in the Soviet Union and became important filmmakers, producing avant-garde and agitprop films. The brothers later stayed in touch primarily by letters; Vertov visited Boris Kaufman in Paris twice, in 1929 and 1931.

After graduating from the University of Paris, Kaufman turned to cinematography, collaborating with Jean Vigo and Dimitri Kirsanoff. During World War II, he served in the French Army against the Nazis; when France fell, Kaufman escaped to Canada. After working briefly with John Grierson for the National Film Board of Canada, he moved to the United States in 1942.

Kaufman supported himself by filming short subjects and documentaries until director Elia Kazan chose him as director of photography for On the Waterfront (1954), Kaufman's first American feature film, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Black and White) and a 1955 Golden Globe Award. For Kazan's Baby Doll (1956), he received a second Oscar nomination.[3] Kaufman was director of photography for Sidney Lumet's first film, 12 Angry Men (1957), and The Pawnbroker (1964). Retiring in 1970, he died in New York City in 1980.

Selected filmography

1929À propos de NiceJean VigoShort film
1931Jean Taris, Swimming ChampionJean VigoShort film
1933Zero for ConductJean Vigo
The Agony of the EaglesJean Mamy
1934L'AtalanteJean Vigo
ZouzouMarc Allégret
1936You Can't Fool AntoinettePaul Madeux
1938Fort DolorèsRené Le Hénaff
1939The Fatted CalfSerge de Polignywith Philippe Agostini
1940SerenadeJean Boyerwith Claude Renoir
1944Hymn of the NationsAlexander HammidShort film
1945A Better TomorrowAlexander HammidShort film
1947Journey into MedicineWillard Van DykeDocumentary film
1949Roller Derby GirlJustin HermanShort film
1952Leonardo da VinciLuciano EmmerDocumentary film
1954On the WaterfrontElia KazanWinner - Academy Award
Garden of EdenMax Nosseck
1956Singing in the DarkMax Nosseck
PatternsFielder Cook
Crowded ParadiseFred Pressburger
Baby DollElia KazanNomination - Academy Award
195712 Angry MenSidney Lumet
1959That Kind of WomanSidney Lumet
1960The Fugitive KindSidney Lumet
1961Splendor in the GrassElia Kazan
1962Long Day's Journey into NightSidney Lumet
1963All the Way HomeAlex Segal
1964The World of Henry OrientGeorge Roy Hill
The PawnbrokerSidney Lumet
1965FilmAlan Schneider
1966The GroupSidney Lumet
1968Bye Bye BravermanSidney Lumet
The BrotherhoodMartin Ritt
UptightJules Dassin
1970Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie MoonOtto Preminger


  1. "Boris Kaufman".
  2. "Boris Kaufman". The New York Times.
  3. "Cinematography (Black-and-White)". 1957 Oscars. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
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