One of France's most well-known film directors, Alain Corneau, whose latest thriller "Love Crime" has just released, died aged 67 overnight Sunday to Monday, his agent said.
Corneau, also a producer and screenwriter who was celebrated for his thrillers but who dabbled in other genres, worked over the years with some of the biggest names in French film, notably Yves Montand, Gerard Depardieu and Monica Bellucci.
Though not a headline name abroad, Corneau enjoyed a solid following at home for 17 features produced over more than three decades. President Nicolas Sarkozy joinded the French cinema world by lamenting the death of "a great film-maker struck down at his prime by illness."
Fellow film-maker Claude Lelouch said Corneau "was one of those rare directors who have a real style, a real personality, you recognise their writing."
Corneau, who was the partner of film-maker Nadine Trintignant, studied at film school before working as an assistant to Constantin Costa-Gavras on his 1970 award-winning tale of political intrigue and espionage "The Confession".
His first film, when aged 30 in 1973, "France Inc", did poorly at the box office despite good reviews. But three years later he signed on actor-singer Montand for the first of three times in an Dirty Harry-inspired movie "Police Python 357."
Corneau also delighted French movie-goers with his historical epic on colonial times "Fort Saganne" (1984), starring Depardieu, which broke the record for the biggest budget for a French film.
In 1992, he won two Cesar French film awards for best film and best director for a box-office hit about a 17th century viola player, "Tous Les Matins Du Monde".
Source: AFP Global Edition