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Culture

France mourns death of New Wave film-maker Claude Chabrol

Paris's cultural and political elite mourned the passing of legendary cinema giant Claude Chabrol on Sunday. The director of "Hell" and "The Butcher" died on Sunday at the age of 80.

Claude Chabrol

In 2009, Chabrol was honored for his life's work at the Berlin Film Festival

Claude Chabrol, the eminent French director who pioneered the New Wave film style that revolutionized French cinema, died on Sunday.

News of the prolific 80-year-old filmmaker's death was greeted with outpourings of sorrow from France's political and cultural leaders.

"The whole of French cinema and France has lost one of its giants," said Martine Aubry, leader of the opposition Socialist party. "Claude Chabrol's cinema was one of the works which constructed our society's vision of itself."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy compared Chabrol to 19th century novelist Honore de Balzac and Renaissance writer Francois Rabelais, hailing "a great author and a great film-maker."

A break with tradition

The Bellamy film poster

Chabrol's final film "Bellamy" was released last year

Chabrol, a close friend of legendary New Wave directors Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, broke with French cinematic tradition in the 1950s to produce films with contemporary themes, everyday characters and fragmented narrative structures.

Chabrol was a prolific film-maker with some 80 movies to his name, including "Hell" and "The Butcher." At the peak of a career, the Acadamie Francaise awarded Chabrol the Rene Clair Prize in 2005. He was also honored for his life's work at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

In a statement on Chabrol's passing, France's Association of Film Directors said that each time a director dies, "a particular way of looking at the world and an expression of our humanity is lost forever."

Author: Sarah Harman (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Ben Knight

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