France laments loss of 'New Wave' filmmaker Rohmer
French film director Eric Rohmer one of the leaders of the 'New Wave' movement that revitalised cinema in the 1960s, died yesterday at the age of 89.
Rohmer, an intensely private, even secretive man, made his last movie in 2007. He will probably be best remembered for his blend of sentimentality and almost literary fussiness in films such as 'Ma Nuit Chez Maude' (1969) and 'L'amour l'apres-midi' (1972).
Like several of his 'New Wave' colleagues, such as Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, Rohmer began as a writer and cinema critic, before making his first film in 1959.
"It's not a labour to make films, it's a passion like gambling or fishing," he once said. "I never had a disappointment in making a film and I don't think I ever made a bad one."
Despite his reputation as an almost academic filmmaker, he often paid tribute to his debt to Alfred Hitchcock, whom he regarded as the greatest director of all time.
He was born Jean-Marie Maurice Scherer in Tulle, Correze in south-western France in April, 1920. After working as a teacher and writing a novel, he became a cinema writer and critic. In 1950, Rohmer founded La Gazette du Cinema with Godard, Truffaut and Jacques Rivette, all of whom went on to make films of their own.
In 50 years as a filmmaker he made 25 full-length features, culminating in 'Les Amours d'Astree et de Celadon' in 2007.
As a disciple of Hitchcock, Rohmer said the secret of successful movie-making was suspense. "I must have suspense in my films," he said. "I can't stand films that are boring."
The former French culture minister, Jack Lang, paid tribute to Eric Rohmer last night as a "master of French cinema" and "a man who discovered everything".(© Independent News Service)