André Laban, filmmaker and former second cousin of Cousteau, has died - Pugoblog



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Thursday, October 11, 2018

André Laban, filmmaker and former second cousin of Cousteau, has died

The diver, painter and filmmaker Andre Laban, who had been for 21 years the second of Commander Cousteau, died at age 90, announced his family Thursday to AFP in a statement.

"My father died Wednesday of old age, Saint-Antonin Noble-Val" (Tarn-et-Garonne), told AFP his son Jean Brun, reached by phone.

André Laban, born in 1928, embarked as a chemical engineer aboard the Calypso in 1952. This meeting marked the beginning of a 21-year collaboration with Commander Jean-Yves Cousteau.

A great handyman, the Marseille diver designs and manufactures the "first 35 mm PVC camera" in 1954, equipped with a pressure-resistant and light-shielding case.

It is with this camera that the "World of Silence", directed by Louis Malle, is shot. The film is a triumph: in 1956 he received the Palme d'Or at Cannes, as well as the Oscar for Best Documentary.

Director of the French Underwater Research Office from 1956 to 1966, André Laban still collaborates with Cousteau for the production of two films, before a break in the early 1970s for financial reasons.

The lover of humor then embarks on a cinema of a new vein, intended to "bring smiles": he wants to make films in which images would be enhanced by music and sound effects.

A successful bet since the director receives the Palme d'Or at the world festival of the underwater image with "Iris and Oniris" (1996) or the price of humor at the Antibes festival with the documentary "Neptunia" (2007).

In his last years, André Laban cultivated his passion for the Big Blue especially via painting - all in shades of blue, obviously.

"Having made dives out of the cockpit, he felt the need to retranscribe what the human eye perceived," explain his children in a statement, recalling that their father invented the painting under water in 1966, when he began to paint between 15 and 25 meters deep.

"My rating is low, but when I'm dead ..." joked in 2016 the inveterate joker, during a meeting with AFP.

The filmmaker's family is organizing a non-religious commemoration Saturday at 11:00 am at the Montauban crematorium. The ceremony is open to the public.

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