'Lulu in the Nude' Director Solveig Anspach Dies at 54

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Solveig Anspach

The Icelandic-French filmmaker had fought a long battle with breast cancer.

Director Solveig Anspach, who first made waves with her 1999 drama Haut les Coeurs, died on August 7 at her home in Paris, several French news outlets, including Le Figaro, reported. She was 54. Anspach passed away after a battle with breast cancer, the reports said. 

Haut les Coeurs, a film about a woman with cancer in remission inspired by her own story, won Anspach the best director award at the Ghent International Film Festival and earned starring actress Karin Viard a Cesar award in 1999. Anspach reunited with Viard for 2014's Lulu in the Nude, which earned the director a second Cesar nomination earlier this year.

Anspach had been among the film luminaries to graduate from Paris’ La Femis, legendarily applying three times before being accepted. Haut les Coeurs was her debut film after Femis; she then went on to helm documentaries and features that bounced between the hilarities and brutalities of life. Among them were Vestmannaeyjar, about the quirks of her home island in Iceland and Made in the USA, about the death penalty in Texas.

Made in the USA premiered in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in 2001, and two years later her psychological drama feature Stormy Weather debuted in the festival’s official lineup Un Certain Regard section.

Following Lulu in the Nude, Anspach had been working on Aquatic Effect, the last installment of her trilogy exploring life in Iceland and France that began with 2008’s Back Soon and 2012’s Queen of Montreuil. She has also penned an untitled script that she had hoped to shoot next year.

Aquatic Effect is in post-production and expected to be completed later this year.