French director Bertrand Tavernier dies at 79: film institute

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An icon in France, Tavernier also had a large foreign following

Award-winning French film director Bertrand Tavernier has died aged 79, the Lumiere film institute of which he was president, announced on Thursday.

An icon in France, Tavernier was also famous internationally, winning a Bafta award for best foreign-language film with "La Vie et Rien d'Autre" ("Life and Nothing But"), a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for "L'Appat" ("The Bait"), a career award at the Venice film festival as well as an Oscar nomination.

Tavernier started his career with mystery films, but later shifted to movies depicting contemporary French society, often with a critical point of view, reflecting his own left-wing convictions.

A fan of 20th-century American cinema, Tavernier was also dedicated to protecting the French cinematic heritage.