10-30-1930

Nestor Almendros

NESTOR ALMENDROS, Spanish cinematographer was born on this date (d. 1992); One of the most highly appraised contemporary cinematographers. Néstor Almendros Cuyas was born in Barcelona, Catalonia, but moved to Cuba at age 18 to join his exiled anti-Franco father.

In Havana, he founded a cinema club and wrote film reviews. Then he went on to study in Rome at the Centro Sperimentale. He directed six shorts in Cuba and two in New York. After the 1959 Cuban Revolution, he returned and made several documentaries for the Castro regime. But after two of his shorts (Gente En La Playa and La Tumba Francesa) were banned, he moved to Paris. There he became the favorite of Eric Rohmer and François Truffaut. In 1978, he started his Hollywood career, and won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for the film Days of Heaven.

In his later years, Almendros co-directed two documentaries about the human rights situation in Cuba: Mauvaise Conduite (about the persecution of gay people) and Nobody Listened. He shot several prestigious advertisements for Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein.

In 1992, Néstor Almendros died of HIV/AIDS in New York at age 61. Human Rights Watch International named an award after him, given every year at the HRWI film festival.