French Filmmaker Jean-Louis Bertuccelli Dies at 71

4:05 PM PST 03/07/2014 by Rhonda Richford
Jean Louis Bertuccelli

The "Ramparts of Clay" director passed away unexpectedly in Paris.

PARIS -- French filmmaker Jean-Louis Bertuccelli has died in Paris at the age of 71 on Thursday.

His first film, Ramparts of Clay won France's young directors' Jean Vigo prize and was the country's entry into the Oscar's foreign film category in 1971. It tells the story of striking Tunisian villagers taking on the powerful mine owners, from the perspective of a young girl who is hesitant about standing up to power and bucking tradition.

Outgoing Cannes president Gilles Jacob called him a "talent with integrity" in a tweet and cited his film Paulina 1880 as his best. The film, adapted from the Pierre Jean Jouve novel, again told the story of a young woman questioning the rules of society.

Another female-focused story, 1976's Doctor Francoise Gailland, won Annie Girardot the best actress prize at that year's Cesar Awards. Co-starring Isabelle Huppert, Girardot played a doctor fighting cancer.

France's authors, directors and producers union (L'ARP) announced his death. "[He] was a filmmaker engaged in the general interest of art," the organization said in a statement. His filmmaking had "a sincere and political perspective about the world around us."

He is survived by his daughter, filmmaker Julie Bertuccelli. Her latest film, The Court of Babel, will open in French theaters this Wednesday.

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