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Tributes pour in as Claude Chabrol passes away at age 80

French filmmaking legend Claude Chabrol died Sunday in Paris at the age of 80.

The French government confirmed his death but didn’t provide details.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on French television that Chabrol “was a great cineaste and showed humor and truculence, both in his films and in his life.” 

Here at TIFF, French writer/director/actor Guillaume Canet told Screen: “I loved his movies, he was my neighbour. He is the kind of director that I’ve always been inspired by. I love the way he was working, he loved actors, he was faithful to actors.”

Cameron Bailey, co-director of TIFF said: “It’s a great, great loss. Everyone at the film festival will have been moved by his films. We’re all thinking about him.”

Like other members of the French New Wave including Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, Chabrol was a critic at Cahiers du Cinema before starting his filmmaking career in 1958 with Le Beau Serge.

The prolific filmmaker made almost a film a year from that time until his death, for a total of about 60 films. His best-known works include Le Boucher, La Femme Infidele, Les Cousins, Violette, Story of Women, La ceremonie, Rien ne va plus and L’Enfer. His last feature film was 2008 police drama Bellamy starring Gerard Depardieu.

Chabrol was born in Paris in 1930 as the son of a pharmacist with a comfortable middle-class life. He then ran a film club when he lived in Sardent in central France during wartime. He studied pharmacology in Paris before seeking a degree in literature.

He is survived by his third wife Auror Pajot (previously he was married to Agnes Marie-Madeleine Goute and Stephane Audran) and three sons.

“Each time that a director disappears, a particular way of looking at the world and an expression of our humanity is lost forever,” France’s Association of Film Directors said in a statement.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon said: “With the death of Claude Chabrol, French cinema has lost one of its maestros.”

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