Jean-Jacques Beineix, a French film director whose debut, the voyeuristic horror film “Diva”, was greatly acclaimed, especially outside of France, in the early 1980s and is often cited credited as the originator of the genre of French filmmaking known as cinéma du look, died on January 13 at his home in Paris. He is 75 years old.
His family announced his death to Agence France-Presse, saying Mr Beineix (pronounced Beh-Nix) had died after a long illness. Unifrance, the French film promotion organization, released statement praising his “innovative cinematography, powerful visuals, iconic image.”
In “Diva,” a fan surreptitiously records a performance by a famous American soprano who has banned all recordings of her vocals, setting off a complicated sequence, including expulsion. money. One unusual aspect of the film is that the title character is played by a real-life opera singer, Wilhelmenia Fernandez. But the most unusual thing about the film, at the time, was its look, colorful, in relation to other movies and the odd camera angle.
“Everything is seen through glass, in mirrors or reflected from the surfaces of puddles,” Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times In 1982, when the film, which had opened in France the year before, played in New York. “If a scene isn’t shot from a low angle, it’s shot from a chandelier.”
Pauline Kael, of the New Yorker, was also attacked by Visual Bravura.
“It’s a mix of style and Chic Hanky-Panky,” she wrote the film, “but it’s also sparkling. The camera pans forward, and you see things you don’t expect. Beineix. think with your own eyes”.
Its style is also sometimes referred to as new wave.
Contrary to the old new drivers, the Man Manla Dargis of the Times explained in 2007, when a new print of “Diva” was shown at the Film Forum, “who sought to interrogate the relationship between reality and image, New Wavers captured the unreality of cinema, emphasizes its falsehood, its theatricality, its surface. ”
Luc Besson and Leos Carax are among the other directors often included in the genre, though that’s not always a compliment; some critics have faulted the film for emphasizing style over substance. Certainly Mr. Beineix’s next films – he’s only implemented a few more features – are greeted with mixed reviews at best.
The most famous ones are “Betty Blue” (1986), a film about an obsessive love affair. Sheila Benson, of the Los Angeles Times, was named one of the best years of the year.
“Beineix’s power is to draw us to the heart of this enticing love affair, to feel its magnetic pull as strong as when we sense impending doom,” she wrote.
But Janet Maslin, of the New York Times, say the movie “There is a beautiful, sunny and a little less.” Its two top spots, Béatrice dalle and Jean-hugues Anglade, have spent quite a few films wearing no clothes.
“If either of them made it into filming without catching a cold, that would be a miracle,” Ms Maslin wrote.
Mr. Beineix accepts that his films can inspire ridicule as well as praise.
“It’s a risk you take,” he told The Gazette of Montreal in 2001. “But if an artist doesn’t take the risk, what’s left? There must be minimal provocation in art. That’s what movies should do.”
Jean-Jacques Beineix was born on October 8, 1946, in Paris. He loved movies from an early age, he said, but did not immediately pursue a career in film.
“I’ve never been the type of movie buff to belong to any club,” he told The International Herald Tribune in 2006. “I didn’t kneel before the altar of Cahiers du Cinema,” quoted the magazine. famous film magazine.
Instead, after earning a degree in philosophy and then studying medicine for several years, he took a leap of faith.
“I ended up leaving college at age 24,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 1982, “to take a job as an assistant film director at the lowest level. I brought coffee for everyone and enjoyed every minute because I didn’t have to study anymore. “
Throughout the 1970s, he worked from Second Assistant Assistant (including the 1972 Jerry Lewis film “The Day the Clown Cried”) to First Assistant Assistant on Claude Zidi’s films, Claude Berri and others. He gained valuable experience, but in the late 1970s began entering Chafe at an underling.
“I’ve seen things done one way, and I want them done differently,” he told the Tribune.
So he did “Diva,” even though the film wasn’t an instant hit — largely because it, he says, couldn’t be easily paired. Critics in France didn’t like it, and the promoters didn’t know how to promote it.
“Ultimately, though, word of mouth turns things around,” he said. And foreign audiences began to discover the film. At the 1981 Festival of Festivals in Toronto, it placed second in the audience vote for the event’s most popular film, behind “Chariots of Fire”.
His next work, “The Moon in the Trough,” was also unsuccessful. It was booed at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and flopped.
Mr. Beineix’s films after “Betty Blue” include “IP5: The Island of Pachyderms” in 1992. The cast includes respected actor and singer. Yves Montand, who died of a heart attack in November 1991 near the end of filming. Mr. Beineix felt that everyone blamed him for the death. Soon after, both his mother and his press agent, a close friend, also died. He hasn’t made another feature film in nearly a decade.
“It’s like you’ve been punched and punched and punched,” he tell the online Nitrate movie site in 2001. “It was built, and suddenly I couldn’t make a picture.”
Returning to filmmaking, with the comedic horror film “The Mortal Assignment” in 2001, was unsuccessful.
Mr. Beineix’s survivors include his wife, Agnes, and a daughter, Frida.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/arts/jean-jacques-beineix-dead.html Jean-Jacques Beineix, ‘Cinema du Look’ Director, Dies at 75