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Boris Kaufman

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Boris Kaufman
Boris Abelevich Kaufman

(1906-08-24)August 24, 1906
DiedJune 24, 1980(1980-06-24) (aged 73)
Alma materUniversity of Paris
RelativesDziga Vertov
Mikhail Kaufman

Boris Abelevich Kaufman, A.S.C. (Russian: Бори́с А́белевич Ка́уфман; August 24, 1906 – June 24, 1980) was a Russian-born American cinematographer[1][2] and the younger brother of Soviet filmmakers Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman.

Life and career


Kaufman was born into a family of Jewish intellectuals in Białystok when Congress Poland was part of the Russian Empire. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, Poland regained its independence, and Boris moved there with his parents. Mikhail and Denis, better known as Dziga Vertov, stayed in the Soviet Union and became important filmmakers, producing avant-garde and agitprop films. The brothers later stayed in touch primarily by letters; Vertov visited Boris Kaufman in Paris twice, in 1929 and 1931.

After graduating from the University of Paris, Kaufman turned to cinematography,[citation needed] collaborating with Jean Vigo and Dimitri Kirsanoff. During World War II, he served in the French Army against the Nazis; when France fell, Kaufman escaped to Canada. After working briefly with John Grierson for the National Film Board of Canada, he moved to the United States in 1942.

Kaufman supported himself by filming short subjects and documentaries until director Elia Kazan chose him as director of photography for On the Waterfront (1954), Kaufman's first American feature film, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Black and White) and a 1955 Golden Globe Award. For Kazan's Baby Doll (1956), he received a second Oscar nomination.[3] Kaufman was director of photography for Sidney Lumet's first film, 12 Angry Men (1957), and The Pawnbroker (1964). Retiring in 1970, he died in New York City on June 24, 1980, 3 months after his brother Mikhail.

Selected filmography

Year Title Director Notes
1929 À propos de Nice Jean Vigo Short film
1931 Jean Taris, Swimming Champion Jean Vigo Short film
1933 Zero for Conduct Jean Vigo
The Agony of the Eagles Jean Mamy
1934 L'Atalante Jean Vigo
The Path to Happiness Jean Mamy
Zouzou Marc Allégret
1936 You Can't Fool Antoinette Paul Madeux
When Midnight Strikes Léo Joannon
1937 Cinderella Pierre Caron
1938 Fort Dolorès René Le Hénaff
1939 The Fatted Calf Serge de Poligny with Philippe Agostini
1940 Serenade Jean Boyer with Claude Renoir
1944 Hymn of the Nations Alexander Hammid Short film
1945 A Better Tomorrow Alexander Hammid Short film
1947 Journey Into Medicine Willard Van Dyke Documentary film
1949 Roller Derby Girl Justin Herman Short film
1951 The Gentleman in Room Six Alexander Hammid Short film
1952 Leonardo da Vinci Luciano Emmer Documentary film
1954 On the Waterfront Elia Kazan Winner - Academy Award
Garden of Eden Max Nosseck
1956 Singing in the Dark Max Nosseck
Patterns Fielder Cook
Crowded Paradise Fred Pressburger
Baby Doll Elia Kazan Nomination - Academy Award
1957 12 Angry Men Sidney Lumet
1959 That Kind of Woman Sidney Lumet
1960 The Fugitive Kind Sidney Lumet
1961 Splendor in the Grass Elia Kazan
1962 Long Day's Journey Into Night Sidney Lumet
1963 All the Way Home Alex Segal
1964 The World of Henry Orient George Roy Hill
The Pawnbroker Sidney Lumet
1965 Film Alan Schneider
1966 The Group Sidney Lumet
1968 Bye Bye Braverman Sidney Lumet
The Brotherhood Martin Ritt
Uptight Jules Dassin
1970 Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon Otto Preminger


  1. ^ "Boris Kaufman". Cinematographers.nl.
  2. ^ "Boris Kaufman". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-01-16.
  3. ^ "Cinematography (Black-and-White)". 1957 Oscars. Retrieved October 27, 2014.