French director Alain Resnais dies at 91

Film-maker was best-known for the documentary Night and Fog and features Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Last Year in Marienbad

Film  director Alain Resnais: his distinctive cinematic work  made him a major influence on the French New Wave. He has died at the age of 91. Photograph: Joel Ryan/AP

Film director Alain Resnais: his distinctive cinematic work made him a major influence on the French New Wave. He has died at the age of 91. Photograph: Joel Ryan/AP

Sun, Mar 2, 2014, 20:32

French film director Alain Resnais, known for classics such as Hiroshima, Mon Amour , Last Year at Marienbad and the documentary Night and Fog about Nazi concentration camps, died yesterday at the age of 91.

Resnais, who was born in 1922 in northwestern France and started his career with mid-length films in the 1940s, rose to fame with Night and Fog and Van Gogh , a short that won an Oscar in its category in 1950.

In 1959, with author Marguerite Duras as scriptwriter, he directed Hiroshima, Mon Amour , a feature about a love affair between a French woman and a Japanese architect that secured his reputation as a feature-film director.

French president François Hollande joined a chorus of condolences for Resnais, described as a highly original and influential film-maker steeped in the pre-war cinema culture of the United States.

“He constantly broke codes, rules and trends while appealing to a vast audience,” Mr Hollande’s office said.

The director won a lifetime achievement award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009, while the Berlin Film Festival awarded him the Alfred Bauer prize for his last film, Loving, Drinking and Eating , to be released in France this month.

One of his favourite actors, Pierre Arditi, hailed the director as extremely original. “There is nothing that less resembles a Resnais film than another Resnais film,” Arditi told BFM TV. “He always tried to avoid copying what he had done before. He didn’t want to use any formula.”

Thierry Fremaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival, hailed a director whose films have influenced generations of film-makers. “He hit hard from the start with his short films in the 1950s and when the Nouvelle Vague arrived, he was sort of a big brother.” – (Reuters)