Pierre Schoendoerffer obituary

He was one of the few directors of war movies with first-hand experience of conflict

Pierre Schoendoerffer, who has died aged 83, was one of the few directors of war films who had actually lived out the adventures of his soldier heroes. The American film-makers William Wellman, Sam Fuller and Oliver Stone did so, but no other director explored the same subject as single-mindedly and doggedly as Schoendoerffer.

His experiences of combat as a military cameraman and as a prisoner of war during the conflict in Indochina marked his output, most directly La 317ème Section (The 317th Platoon, 1965), about a doomed French unit; Le Crabe-Tambour (The Drummer Crab, 1977), about French officers involved in the fall of the French empire after the second world war; his Oscar-winning television documentary La Section Anderson (The Anderson Platoon, 1967), which followed the lives of Us soldiers in Vietnam; and Diên Biên Phú (1992), about a Us war

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