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Cannes prize-winner Delannoy dies aged 100

Latest update : 2008-06-19

French filmmaker Jean Delannoy has died at the age of 100. His 1946 film "La symphonie Pastorale" earned him the first Grand Prix of the Cannes Film Festival. His last movie, "Marie of Nazareth", was released in 1995.

French filmmaker Jean Delannoy, prize-winner at the 1946 Cannes film festival for "La symphonie pastorale" (Pastoral Symphony), has died at age 100, his family said Thursday.

The actor-turned-director gained prominence for his screen adaptations of literary classics such as the 1943 version of "L'eternel retour" (Love Eternal) produced with Jean Cocteau.

He also directed US actor Anthony Quinn and Italian bombshell Gina Lollobrigida in "Notre Dame de Paris" (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) in 1956.

Delannoy died late Wednesday at his home in the town of Guainville, southwest of Paris, his family said.

A director of more than 30 films, Delannoy was harshly criticised by the younger generation of new wave filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut who dismissed his work as lacklustre "poetic realism."

His best-known work, "La symphonie pastorale" which tells the story of a Protestant pastor living in the Swiss Alps, was awarded the Grand prize at Cannes in 1946.

President Nicolas Sarkozy paid tribute to Delannoy, saying he was "a huge director who successfully devoted his life to his passion for art and contributed to our country's cultural influence."

"Even if he is gone, his works continue to enchant us," said Sarkozy in a statement.

He cited "La symphonie pastorale", "La princesse de Cleves" (The Princess of Cleves) and "Le Bossu" (The Hunchback) among his notable works and singled out "Notre Dame de Paris" for special praise.

Sarkozy described it as "an emotionally-charged film that brought together larger-than-life actors and uncovered some of the future greats."

Date created : 2008-06-19