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Betty Blue director Jean-Jacques Beineix dies aged 75 | Movies

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French director Jean-Jacques Beineix died Thursday at the age of 75, his family announced Friday to Agence France Presse.

His brother told Le Monde that he died at his home in Paris after a long illness.

Beineix rose to prominence with his first film, Diva, in 1980, and achieved wider international fame in 1986 with the film Betty Blue, starring Jean-Hugues Anglade and Béatrice Dalle. The erotic drama was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars and became the eighth highest-grossing film of the year in France.

“I love you,” Dalle wrote in a message to Beineix on his Instagram page on Friday, adding that the shoot was “one of the most beautiful pages of my life.”

Beineix was considered a pioneer of French “cinema du look” which was later adopted by Luc Besson. “Movies should do more than just feed people ready-made, easily recognizable products,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. “I expect more.”

Beineix trained as a doctor before making a name for himself with a stark public health warning on AIDS television. His feature debut, the psychological thriller Diva about a young mailman obsessed with an opera diva, won four Césars – the French equivalent of the Oscars – and is now considered a cult classic.

His second film, The Moon in the Gutter, starring Gérard Depardieu and Nastassja Kinski, was poorly received by critics, with Beineix saying he “never got over it” being booed when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Cannes in 1983. “The wound is there. The fact that I finished today started there,” he told French radio in 2020.

After the success of Betty Blue, Beineix took the plunge when the major Hollywood studios came knocking on his door. “I decided to walk across the minefield…to dine with the devil,” he later said. But he turned down huge opportunities in the 1990s, including the chance to direct The Avengers, Alien Resurrection and The Name of the Rose.

Although he continued to make documentaries, Beineix took up writing, returning to the theme of his greatest hit Betty Blue in his debut novel Toboggan. The 2020 artwork had echoes of the film, with an unhinged young woman who has a passionate affair with an aspiring writer. “I dreamed of love before anything else,” he said.

Betty Blue director Jean-Jacques Beineix dies aged 75 | Movies

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