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French New Wave director Eric Rohmer: R.I.P

January 11, 2010 | 11:43 am

EricRohmer Director Eric Rohmer, one of the founders of the French New Wave film movement, has died, his production company confirmed Monday.

Born Maurice Henri Joseph Scherer in 1920, Rohmer fashioned his screen name after actor-director Erich von Stroheim (“Sunset Boulevard”) and the English novelist Sax Rohmer. From 1957 to 1963, he was the editor of the influential periodical Cahiers du Cinema and ultimately joined his onetime Cahiers colleagues Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut as a director. 

Rohmer didn’t have the flash and sizzle of the more famous Godard and Truffaut, but he was very much their equal, creating deceptively simple fables about the human condition, with haunting performances and a particular obsession for the messy vagaries of love and betrayal. He made his directorial debut in 1959 with "Le Signe du Lion," but it was his third film, 1969’s “My Night at Maud’s,” that catapulted him to international attention and earned two Oscar nominations.

Rohmer directed more than 50 films, including such notable works as “Claire’s Knee,” the Cannes Jury Prize grand winner “The Marquise of O” and “Pauline at the Beach,” the last of which memorably portrayed a teenager ensnared in the romantic games of her aunt. His last film was 2007’s “The Romance of Astree and Celadon.” Rohmer was 89.

-- Rachel Abramowitz

Photo: Eric Rohmer in 1981. Credit: Pierre Verdy / Associated Press

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