October 8, 2013 - 10:32 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Patrice Chereau, the French director of opera, theater and films such as “Queen Margot” and “Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train,” died Monday, October 7 in Paris of lung cancer. He was 68, Variety reported.
According to The New York Times, Chéreau was born on Nov. 2, 1944, in Lézigné, Maine-et-Loire, in western France, to parents who were both painters. He developed a passion for the theater as a child, and became manager of his high school theater when he was 15. When he was 19, and a student at the Sorbonne, he directed a production of Victor Hugo’s “Intervention” that was so successful that he left the university to start his own theater company in Paris.
He began directing in Italy and Germany in the early 1970s, and he had a few opera productions under his belt, including a staging of Offenbach’s “Contes d’Hoffmann” at the Paris Opera by the time he undertook his Bayreuth “The Ring.”
A screenwriter and actor as well, Chereau was director of the Theatre des Amandiers in Nanterre, France. His unusual production of “The Ring” in 1976 was described as changing the face of modern opera.
Equally at home in theater, opera and film, he told the Guardian in 2011, “For me they are exactly the same – telling stories with actors.”
“Queen Margot,” starring Isabelle Adjani, received two Cannes Film Festival prizes in 1994 and was Oscar-nommed for costume design. The Cannes Film Festival screened a restored version of the film this year.
In 2001, Chereau helmed his only English-language film, the sexually explicit “Intimacy,” written by Hanif Kureishi, which won the Berlin Golden Bear award. But though he spent seven years trying to make a film about Napoleon with Al Pacino that he was never able to fully finance, he never worked in Hollywood as so many other European directors have done.
He received the Cesar for original screenplay for 1984′s “The Wounded Man” (L’Homme Blesse), which he also directed. His first film, which he also wrote, was “The Flesh of the Orchid” in 1975; his final film was 2009′s “Persecution.”