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Jean-Jacques Beineix, French Director of ‘Betty Blue’ and ‘Diva,’ Dies at 75

He died in Paris after battling a long illness

French director Jean-Jacques Beineix died in Paris on Thursday after battling a long illness, according to his brother who told French outlet Le Monde. Beineix was 75.

Beineix is best known for directing 80s French films “Betty Blue” (1986), “Diva” (1981) and “The Moon in the Gutter” (1983). Beineix paved the way for fellow French directors Luc Besson, Leos Carax and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Growing up as a rabid movie fan, Beineix first studied medicine before going into the film business. During the seventies, he became an well regarded assistant director, working with Claude Berri, René Clément, Claude Zidi and even Jerry Lewis.

Beineix broke out with his first short film, 1977’s “Mr Michel’s Dog,” which earned a César nomination for best short film (fiction).

Beineix would go on to make his feature directorial debut with “Diva,” which won four César awards including best first feature.

For his sophomore effort, Beineix would direct Gerard Depardieu and Nastassia Kinski in “The Moon in the Gutter.” The film premiered at the 1983 Cannes Film festival, was poorly received and booed. “The Moon in the Gutter” would go on to flop at the box office, however it won a César for set design.

Beineix would rebound with “Betty Blue,” based on the novel by Philippe Djian. The film received mixed reviews but was an international hit at the box office. The film would be nominated for Best Foreign film at both the Oscars and Golden Globes, and received 9 César nominations.