France Mourns Filmmaker Alain Resnais' Death

Associated Press
Alain Resnais

Cannes president Gilles Jacob called for a state funeral to honor him.

PARIS -- French cinema and society is deeply feeling the loss of legendary director Alain Resnais, who died Saturday night in Paris.

President Francois Hollande issued a statement from the Elysee Palace on Resnais death, mourning that France has lost one of its greatest filmmakers.

"He constantly renewed genres," the statement said. "Each of his films was an innovation. He constantly broke codes, rules and patterns while appealing to a wide audience. He also helped generations of actors and technicians with whom he worked to give their best. He has always been loved by them."

STORY: French Filmmaker Alain Resnais Dies at 91 

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault followed suit by expressing "profound sadness" and calling him "one of the giants of French cinema."

Culture minister Aurelie Filippetti followed suit with a statement expressing "deep emotion" upon hearing of his death. "His films belong to the history of our cinema, and even history itself, if we consider that he was the director of Night and Fog, which quickly established itself as a reference for understanding the tragedy of deportation during World War II."

"He inspired an entire generation," said French Academy president Alain Terzian. "This is a huge loss, this is a piece of film history."

In a series of tweets, outgoing Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob called for a state funeral, on par with Italy's celebration of Frederico Fellini upon his death. To do anything less would be "an abandonment of glory," he wrote. He also called on the next mayor of Paris to name a street after the late director. 

Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux said Resnais "was one of those filmmakers who leave a mark on the history of cinema." He received a lifetime achievement award from the festival in 2009.