Henri Cartier-Bresson on the set of Jean Renoir's film "La règle du jeu", 1939. Anonymous Photographer © Collection Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Cartier-Bresson on the set of "Southern Exposures", United States, 1970 © Martine Franck / Magnum Photos


Henri Cartier-Bresson developed a passion for filmmaking in the 1930’s. He studied cinema with Paul Strand in New York in 1935. When he returned to France, he was hired as the second assistant director to Jean Renoir in 1936 for La vie est à nous and Une partie de campagne, and in 1939 for La Règle du Jeu.

Films directed by Henri Cartier-Bresson

1937: Victoire de la vie. Director: Henri Cartier-Bresson, with Herbert Kline. Produced by Frontier Films for the Centrale Sanitaire Internationale. Photography: Jacques Lemare. Music: Charles Koechlin. Commentary: Pierre Unik. Editing: Laura Sejour. Graphics: Griffoul. Distributed by Ciné-liberté. Running time: 47 minutes. Black and white.

With the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Director: Henri Cartier-Bresson, with the collaboration of Herbert Kline. Running time: 18 minutes. Black and white. 

1938: L’Espagne Vivra. Director: Henri Cartier-Bresson. Produced by the Secours Populaire de France et des Colonies. Editing: Ibéria. Graphics: Griffoul. Commentary: Georges Sadoul. Musical arrangement: J.-C. Simon. Spanish songs recorded by “Le Chant du monde.” Distributed by Les Films Populaires. Running time: 44 minutes. Black and white.

1945: Le Retour. Director: Henri Cartier-Bresson and Richard Banks. Production: U.S. Army Signal Corps, Captain G. Krimsky and Office of War Information (OWI), Noma Ratner. Technical advisor: Henri Cartier-Bresson (Stalag VC), with the assistance of Lieutenant Richard Banks. Camera operator: Claude Renoir. Commentary: Claude Roy (Stalag Etain). Music: Robert Lannoy ; (Stalag XIII B), orchestrated by Roger Desormière. Scenes filmed at the Gare d’Orsay: Henri Cartier-Bresson, assisted by Claude Renoir. Running time: 33 minutes. Black and white.

1970: Impressions of California. Director: Henri Cartier-Bresson. Producer: William K. McClure for CBS News. Production: Peter Callam, John Mayer, Judy Osgood. Executive producer: Burton Benjamin. Assistant producer: Christine Ockrent. Photography: Jean Boffety and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Sound: Michael Lax. Editing: Jules Laventhol. Running time: 25 minutes. Colour.

1971: Southern Exposures. Director: Henri Cartier-Bresson. Producer: William K. McClure for CBS News. Production: Jimmy Murphy, Ross Williams, Martine Franck and John Hockenberry. Executive producer: Burton Benjamin. Assistant producer: Christine Ockrent. Photography: Walter Dombrow and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Editing: Peter Callam. Sound: Larry Gianneschi. Running time: 26 minutes. Colour.


Films composed of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson

1956: A Travers le Monde avec Henri Cartier-Bresson. Director: Jean-Marie Drot and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Running time: 22 minutes. Black and white.

1963: Midlands at Play and at Work. Produced by ABC Television, London. Running time: 19 minutes. Black and white.

1967: Flagrants délits. Director: Robert Delpire. With the collaboration of Liliane de Kermadec. Original music score by Diego Masson. Editing: Anne-Marie Cotret, Kenout Peltier. Photography: Seria. Production: Delpire Paris. Running time: 28 minutes. Black and white.

1969: Québec vu par Cartier-Bresson / Le Québec as seen by Cartier-Bresson. Director: Wolff Koenig. Producer: Canadian Film Board. Running time: 10 minutes. Black and white.

1973: The Decisive Moment. Production: Scholastic Magazines and the International Center of Photography. Editing: Sheila Turner. Coordinator: Cornell Capa. Running time: 18 minutes. Black and white.

1991: Ecrire contre l’oubli : Mamadou Bâ Mauritanie.  Director: Martine Franck and Henri Cartier-Bresson for Amnesty International. Rostrum camera: Jean Gloker. Editing: Roger Ikhlef. Running time: 3 minutes. Black and white.

1994: Contacts : Henri Cartier-Bresson.  From William Klein’s idea. Director: Robert Delpire. Rostrum camera: Jean Gloker. Sound engineer: Frédéric Ullmann. Editing: Roger Ikhlef. Delegated Producer: KS Visions, Jean-Pierre Krief, Alex Szalat. Production: KS Visions. Coproduction: ARTE and Centre National de la Photographie. Running time: 12 minutes. Colour.

1999: L’Araignée d’amour. “100 photos du siècle” series. Director: Marie-Monique Robin. Production: ARTE and Capa Production. Running time: 6 minutes. Colour.

2012: Le siècle de Cartier-Bresson. Director: Pierre Assouline. Production: ARTE France, Cinétévé, Fondation HCB, INA. Editing: Michèle Hollander. Produced by: Fabienne Servan Schreiber, Laurence Miller and Christine Graziani. Running time: 53 minutes. Black and white.


Films about Henri Cartier-Bresson 

1959: Henri Cartier-Bresson. Director: Gjon Mili. Running time: 2 minutes. Black and white.

1962: Henri Cartier-Bresson : L’Aventure Moderne. Director: Roger Kahane. Broadcast by Jean Bardin and Bernard Hubrenne. Director of photography: Jacques Mercanton. Editing: Michel Plat. Sound design: Guy Montassut. Production: ORTF. Running time: 29 minutes. Black and white.

1994: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Point d’interrogation? Director: Sarah Moon, in collaboration with Robert Delpire. Production: Take Five. Production manager: Michèle Siritzky. Photography: Etienne Becker, Sarah Moon. Editing: Roger Ikhlef. Running time: 38 minutes. Colour.

1997: La Conversation. Broadcast “Le cercle de minuit” presented by Laure Adler and Thérèse Lombard. Photography and direction: François Ede. Editing: Camille Laurenti. Production: France 3. Running time: 66 minutes. Colour.

1998: Pen, Brush and Camera. Interview with Patricia Wheatley. Production: BBC. Running time: 49 minutes. Colour.

1999: 60 minutes. Interview with Charlie Rose. Production: CBS. Running time: 55 minutes. Colour.

Le XXe siècle a vécu avec la photographie: conversation avec Henri Cartier-Bresson. Produced by NHK. Running time: 60 minutes. Colour.

2001: Henri Cartier-Bresson: L’amour tout court. Director: Raphaël  Byrne. Produced by Film à Lou and ARTE France. Running time: 70 minutes. Colour.

2003: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Biographie d’un regard. Director: Heinz Bütler. Co-production: Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, NZZ Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Xanadu Film. Executive producers: Wolfgang Frei, Agnès Sire. Photography: Matthias Kälin. Editing: Anja Bombelli. Running time: 52 minutes. Colour.

2005: Une journée dans l’atelier d’Henri Cartier-Bresson. Director: Caroline Thiénot Barbey. Editing: Rodolphe Molla. Running time: 16 minutes. Colour.


Audio production 

1991: Henri Cartier-Bresson : le bon plaisir. Produced by Véra Feyder. FNAC/France Culture, Paris.