The life of the great photographer Sam Levin will have covered almost the entire 20th century. He was born in Ukraine in 1904 and died in Paris in 1992. First a chemical engineer, he became more and more passionate about photography, which he discovered at the age of seven. Completely self-taught, he became a photographer without having really wanted to. He began as a set photographer during the 1930s, photographing Jean Gabin, Michèle Morgan, Arletty and even Mireille Balin. Is present on the set of La Grande Illusion or La Bête Humaine, before creating his own studio.
The stars of the whole world, all the great artists of the 20th century passed in front of the lens of Sam Levin who liked to compare a session of posing to a silent conversation and who liked above all to capture the thought that crosses the mind. The quality of the exchange between the model and the photographer depended on the quality of the portrait. Find in my book Our French actresses, more than a hundred photos of the great photographer. The opportunity to find Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin, Mireille Darc, Mylène Demongeot, Catherine Deneuve, Marlène Jobert, Anna Karina, Michèle Mercier, Jeanne Moreau or Simone Signoret and so many others, forever immortalized in their eternal youth. Not a photo that is not composed with a dazzling art of color.
Text by Jean Michel Parker, author of Nos actrices françaises
Festival du Film Francophone d’Angoulême
August 22 to 27, 2023