Claude Lelouch

Claude Barruck Joseph Lelouch (French: [ləluʃ]; born 30 October 1937) is a French film director, writer, cinematographer, actor and producer.

Claude Lelouch
Claude Lelouch in September 2019
Claude Barruck Joseph Lelouch

(1937-10-30) 30 October 1937
Paris, France
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, cinematographer, actor, film producer
Spouse(s)Christine Cochet (1968–1972)
Gunilla Friden (197?-197?)
Évelyne Bouix (1980–1985)
Marie-Sophie L. (1986–1992)
Alessandra Martines (1993–2009)
ChildrenSimon Lelouch, Salomé Lelouch, Sarah Lelouch, Stella Lelouch, Shaya Lelouch, Sachka Lelouch, Sabaya Lelouch

Life and career

Lelouch was born in the 9th arrondissement of Paris and is the son of Charlotte (née Abeilard) and Simon Lelouch.[1]

His father was born to an Algerian Jewish family while his mother was a convert to Judaism. [2][3] Lelouch says that his first contact with cinema was very young: "My mother hid me in movie theaters when I was little. We were wanted by the Gestapo. [...] Cinema, for starters, saved my life."[4] Of his personal faith, he says "Today I believe in God. My faith was sparked when I made a film in Israel. Over there, it is impossible not to believe in God. I loved the places of worship of all the religions. Everything which happens is for the best. I sometimes have the feeling that my inspiration comes from heaven. I think it is wonderful to be Jewish."[5]

His father bought him a camera, as a fresh start after his failure in the baccalaureat. He started his career with a reportage – one of the first to film daily life in the Soviet Union, with the camera hidden under his coat as he made his personal journey. He also filmed sporting events, like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Tour de France..

His first full-length film as director, Le Propre de l'homme, was decried by the critics: "Claude Lelouch, remember this name well, because you will not hear it again" – Cahiers du cinéma said. La femme spectacle (1963), following prostitutes, women shopping, going for nose-jobs, was censored for its misogynist tendency. A Man and a Woman changed his fortunes and was met with favour even by the Cahiers group.

The 1981 musical epic Les Uns et les Autres is widely considered as his masterpiece, and his credits now add up to 50 or so films. His 1976 film, C'était un rendez-vous, purportedly features a Ferrari 275 GTB being driven at extreme speed through the streets of Paris at dawn. The entire short is shot from the point of view of the car. Legend has it that Lelouch was arrested after it was first shown publicly.[6]

In a 2006 interview, Lelouch stated that he drove his own Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 in the film and created a soundtrack of the radically different sounding Italian sports car for effect.[7]

He collaborated more than two dozen times with composer Francis Lai. They scored a great hit with the theme song for the film A Man and a Woman sung by Nicole Croisille and Pierre Barouh, and more than 300 versions of the song exist.

In 1993 he was the President of the Jury at the 18th Moscow International Film Festival.[8]



Lelouch's A Man and a Woman won the Palme d'Or at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival,[10] as well as two Oscars including Best Foreign Language Film.[11]

His 1967 film Vivre pour vivre, was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.[12] In 1971, he won the David di Donatello for Best Foreign Directing for Le Voyou.


See also


  1. "Claude Lelouch biography". Archived from the original on 1 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  2. Joseph Tolédano, Les Juifs maghrébins, Brepols, 1989, p. 287
  3. "Claude Lelouch: Life as a movie - Israel Culture". Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  4. INA, Claude Lelouch (October 26, 2017). "Le cinéma de Claude Lelouch en 13 vidéos" (in French). INA. "Passeurs d'histoires: vidéo "2011 - Lycée : la section cinéma reçoit Claude Lelouch". Retrieved November 15, 2018. Ma mère me cachait dans les salles de cinéma quand j'étais tout petit. On était recherché par le Gestapo. [...] Je pense que le cinéma a commencé par me sauver la vie.
  5. "Claude Lelouch: Life as a movie". Ynetnews. November 1, 2006.
  6. "C'était un Rendez-vous Review (1976)". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
  7. IMDB Trivia Archived 2006-06-26 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 21 February 2016.
  8. "18th Moscow International Film Festival (1993)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  9. "Franse cineast Claude Lelouch geridderd in Brussel". Archived from the original on 10 February 2018. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  10. "Festival de Cannes: A Man and a Woman". Archived from the original on 7 August 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  11. "The 39th Academy Awards (1967) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  12. "The 40th Academy Awards (1968) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
  13. "VIDEO. Claude Lelouch retrouve Anouk Aimée et Jean-Louis Trintignant pour l'épilogue d'"Un homme et une femme"". Franceinfo. March 15, 2019.
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