The estimable French filmmaker Claude Berri, best known as the director of Jean De Florette and Manon Of The Spring (read Tasha Robinson’s rave review of the DVDs here), has died of undisclosed causes at age 74. Remembered today by President Nicolas Sarkozy as “the most legendary figure of French cinema,” the writer, director, actor, and producer was known for his tasteful, literate dramas and for stamping his considerable imprimatur on a range of other filmmakers’ projects, such as Roman Polanski’s Tess, Claude Miller’s The Little Thief, Patrice Chéreau’s Queen Margot, and, most recently, Abdellatif Kechiche’s superb The Secret Of The Grain. As director, his other work includes Lucie Aubrac, A Housekeeper, Uranus, and Germinal.

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