Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Claude Berri dies

One of France's most respected film directors, Claude Berri, passed away yesterday. He achieved massive success with his two films about rural deceit and revenge – Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources.

Both were very well received in the UK, and Manon des Sources was especially well received in my house, thanks to the casting of the estimable Emmanuelle Béart as the, erm, titular shepherdess. Surely every hot-blooded young man fancied booking a trip to the Provence countryside upon witnessing her open-air bathing ritual.

Berri also enjoyed considerable success as a producer, mosty recently working on Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis – France's most popular film of recent years, woefully under-distributed in the UK – and La Graine et le Mulet (released here as Couscous), whose central family meal scene is one of modern cinema's most eye-catching and beautiful.

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