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Saturday 23 September 2017

Jacques Rivette, French New Wave film director, dies aged 87

French director Jacques Rivette has died at 87 (AP)
French director Jacques Rivette has died at 87 (AP)

French director Jacques Rivette, a secretive pioneer of convention-bashing New Wave film who brought renown to women actors such as Emmanuelle Beart, has died aged 87.

Rivette's films - like many of the New Wave era - routinely appeared at elite film festivals though did not always enjoy commercial success.

French president Francois Hollande, in a statement announcing Rivette's death, hailed him for creating film's with major female roles.

Among them were his first film, La Religieuse (The Nun), the award-winning La Belle Noiseuse (The Beautiful Troublemaker) in 1991, and a 1996 version of the Joan of Arc story called Jeanne la Pucelle.

Serge Toubiana, head of the Cinematheque museum in Paris, described on France-Info radio Rivette's "sense of conspiracy, sense of secrecy" and the "magnificent place" he provided to women characters.

With often-tousled hair and a slight stature, Rivette was lesser known than other New Wave icons Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.

Like them, he started out as a film critic - and was the first of the group to go on to make his own movies.

In a critique more than half a century ago in the esteemed journal Cahiers du Cinema, he observed: "There are things that should only be faced with fear and trembling; death, without a doubt, is one of them."

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