Richard Leacock, Filmmaker . 1921-2011

Richard Leacock died in Paris yesterday. He was 89. Ricky was one of the founders of the cinema vérité movement, and a constant innovator in documentary filmmaking. Ricky's last great work is an upcoming multi-media memoir that will also serve as a personal history of documentary.

Ricky was also my mentor and my friend. This is for him:

Ricky's memoir
Ricky with his partner & collaborator Valérie Lalonde (photo Anne Aghion)

Hey Ricky

Thanks for showing me how to look

not to watch, but to really look

with a camera

Thanks for your panning zooms,

your wonderful focusing zooms

and the swish pans

Thank you for all the hard cuts

Thanks for the sync sound and the MOS

Thanks for those bemused cut-aways

Thanks for all the brief shots of beautiful sound women

without headsets

Thank you for creating sequences

Thanks for composing in 1.33

Thanks for inviting serendipity into your frame

Thank you for Jazz Dance,

Primary, Company, Happy Mother's Day,

Monterey Pop, The Chair, Stravinsky,

Les Oeufs à la Coque

Thanks for being so contagiously dazzled

by women, music, technology, science, cooking and

all the laughing ironies

of being there with a camera

Thanks for inventing the future of documentary

time and again in 16 millimeter, Super 8, Hi 8 and mini DV,

with Auricons, Nizos, Aatons, and Sonys

and for re-inventing the history of documentary

with your upcoming book.

You never ever ceased

to be amazed

Thank you for being my teacher

God bless your soul



You order Ricky's multimedia memoir, The Feeling of Being There


Some obituaries:

All These Wonderful Things A J Schnack

indiewire Eric Kohn

New York Times William Grimes

New Yorker Richard Brody

Boston Globe Mark Feeny

The Guardian Ronald Bergan

Screen Rush: Pennebaker on Leacock Eric Kohn

Visible Evidence Brian Winston

indieWIRE Hope for Film David van Taylor


Cinéma du réel is currently running a tribute to Leacock at the Pompidou Center in Paris.


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