French film pioneer Eric Rohmer dies

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The Independent Online

Eric Rohmer, a pioneer of the French "New Wave" which transformed cinema in the 1960s, has died, his production house said today. He was 89.

In a movie career spanning half a century, Rohmer made about 50 films, first gaining international acclaim for "Ma nuit chez Maud" ("My Night at Maud's") which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay in 1969.

"Le genou de Claire" ("Claire's Knee") won top honors at the San Sebastian film festival in 1970 and "L'amour l'apres-midi" ("Love in the Afternoon") two years later secured Rohmer's position as a master of the intense portrayal of the cerebral and the sensual.

Rohmer was born Jean-Marie Maurice Scherer in Nancy, eastern France, in April, 1920. After a brief spell as a teacher, he turned to writing about movies, founding La Gazette du Cinema with future "New Wave" directors Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Jacques Rivette in 1950.

He later became editor of Cahiers du Cinema, the high-brow bible of the French "New Wave" movement, which sought to break away from the constraints of classical cinema to create a more edgy, improvised style.

Rohmer made his first feature film, "Le signe du lion" ("The Sign of Leo"), in 1959. His last movie as director, "Les amours d'Astree et de Celadon" ("The Romance of Astree and Celadon"), came out in 2007.