A Man And A Woman And A Mistress
I’ve been posting a bit over the past few weeks about my new French mistress, who my wife Bonnie has welcomed into the family. A few of my friends have asked if my love of HBO’s Big Love had gone to another level. I can only respond that, in some way–yes, it has.
That connection would be that in the final season one of the episodes was shot by my favorite cinematographer Haskell Wexler. Haskell had a great love throughout his decades as a D.P. and I have now joined him in that love.
The love that I am speaking of is the undying and eternal love between a man and . . .
. . . a camera. In this case, the Eclair Cameflex CM3, a 35mm motion picture camera.
Ever since I was a teenager and first started seeing behind-the-scenes photos of movie sets and movie cameras I’ve been fascinated by cameras. I wanted to work with every one I saw. The Panavision PSR, the Arriflex IIC, the Mitchell BNC. But no camera has held a greater fascination for me than the French-made Eclair CM3 that my favorite filmmakers used. It’s also the strangest looking camera I’ve ever seen.
I’ve been tracking Eclair CM3 cameras for years on eBay and observed how they, like all 35mm movie cameras, have been coming down in price as movies have made the transition from film to digital capture.
Several years ago I’d given serious thought to buying a full Eclair outfit for $4,500. A pretty steep price for me at the time. Instead, I put my money into the (then new) Pansonic DVX 100A and made Year. A wise decision. But I never stopped keeping tabs on the Eclair CM3s on eBay.
Finally, the price got so low that I could resist no longer.
And Eclair Cameflex body, without lenses, that had been posted at $999.99 was marked down for two weeks to $799. That was it. Finally, she was within my grasp.
I discussed this with Bonnie and, as in all of my ventures, she encouraged me and supported me. She also knew that I wouldn’t buy a camera simply as a bauble. I would make something with it. To that end, I’ve been buying California Super Lotto tickets every time I go to the grocery store because that’s the only way I’d ever be able to support a whole feature film budget of film and processing for the Eclair!
It’s a lucky man to have not one, but two perfect women!
And she ss a beautiful thing that shares a lot in common with Bonnie, as displayed here:
I shall write more about my new second love in coming days and weeks. (Or is Eclair my real first love? After all, I’ve fantasized about her long before I ever met Bonnie . . . Hmmm . . . Maybe I shouldn’t be putting this out in public . . . ) Until then . . .
Here is a 1960s behind-the-scenes featurette showing Claude Lelouch directing and filming Vivre Pour Vivre with his Eclair Cameflex CM3.