Oscar-winning director Schoendoerffer dead at 83

He passed away in his native France on Wednesday (14Mar12).

The filmmaker served as a cameraman in the French army during the 1950s and he spent four months in Indochina as a prisoner of war after being captured by the Vietnamese guerrillas in 1954.

Upon his release, Schoendoerffer became a war correspondent and then embarked on a film career winning acclaim for his gritty movie The 317th Platoon. He also wrote and directed Drummer Crab and A Captain’s Honor, and, in 1968, he earned an Academy Award for his documentary The Anderson Platoon.

Paying tribute to the director, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called him “one of the very rare French directors who, thanks to the universality of his message, won an Oscar.”