Richard Leacock, Innovative Documentary Maker, Dies at 89
Richard Leacock, a filmmaker who helped create the documentary style known as direct camera or cinéma vérité, and who played a pivotal role in making some of the most innovative documentaries of the 1960s, died on Wednesday at his home in Paris.
He was 89.
Although overshadowed by colleagues like Albert and David Maysles and D. A. Pennebaker, Mr. Leacock was a seminal figure in developing the artistic theories and the small, lightweight camera and sound equipment that led to a new style of reportorial filmmaking, one that had a profound influence not just on nonfiction filmmakers but also on directors, like John Cassavetes, who were seeking a more immediate, spontaneous style.
From the time he made his first documentary film, at the age of 14, Mr. Leacock looked for ways and means that would allow the camera to function as an unblinking observer and allow stories to, as it were, tell themselves — to convey, as he was fond of saying, “the feeling of being there.”