French film director Alain Corneau dies

Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:13pm EDT
 
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PARIS (Reuters) - French film director Alain Corneau, one of the country's most popular filmmakers, died of cancer Sunday at the age of 67, his agent said Monday.

Corneau was known for his diversity, attracting some of the country's top film stars after initially starting out with a string of thrillers in the 1970s.

In 1991, his film "Tous les matins du monde" about a 17th century viola player that starred Gerard Depardieu and his son Guillaume was awarded seven Csar, the French equivalent of the Oscars, including best film and best director.

His latest movie, "Crime of Love," a murder mystery starring British actress Kristin Scott-Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier, came out on Aug 18.

Fellow French director Claude Lelouch, said there was a "Corneau tradition" and described him as "one of those filmmakers that had true style and personality that was immediately recognizable."

Born Aug 7, 1943, Corneau's first success was in the 1976 Dirty-Harry inspired "Police Python 357" in which Yves Montand takes the role of a tough policeman. That was followed three years later by Serie Noire, a move away from the thriller genre to the seedy side of Parisian suburbs.

The screenwriter and producer teamed up again with Depardieu and Sophie Marceau in 1984 to film Fort Saganne. The film, a historical epic on France's colonial past, was the most expensive of its time in the country.

"The death of an artist is always a very sad death," Depardieu told RTL radio. "There was a lot of suffering in recent weeks. It was like Francois Truffaut, who had told us "don't come see me."

(Reporting by John Irish and Elisabeth Pineau; editing by Ralph Boulton)