French helmer Claude Miller dies

Films included 'L'Effrontee,' 'Deadly Circuit'

PARIS — French helmer Claude Miller, whose career spanned more than 40 years and included such acclaimed films as “L’Effrontee,” “Garde a vue” (Custody), “La Petite Voleuse” (The Little Thief) and “Mortelle Randonnee” (Deadly Circuit), died on Wednesday in Paris, after a long illness. He was 70.

After attending film school in Paris, he served as assistant director to some of France’s leading helmers, notably Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut.

He made his feature debut in 1976 with Patrick Dewaere starrer “La Meilleure Façon de Marcher” (The Best Way to Walk), which earned six Cesar noms and won one for cinematography.

He achieved international recognition with thriller “Garde a vue,” an adaptation of John Wainwright’s “Brainwash,” toplining Lino Ventura, Romy Schneider and Michel Serrault. Stephen Hopkins directed a U.S. remake, “Under Suspicion,” in 2000, with Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman in the lead roles.

Miller’s 1998 mystery drama “La Classe de neige” (Class Trip) won Cannes’ jury prize.

“Claude Miller was a loyal, affectionate and sincere filmmaker, who attracted the most accomplished actors,” Eric Garandeau, prexy of the French film board CNC, said in a statement. “He was dedicated to cinema. When he wasn’t shooting a movie, he was talking about filmmaking, and was active in improving the health of French cinema.”

Miller served as president of FEMIS, Gaul’s prestigious film school, producers’ org ARP and exhibitors’ body Europa Cinema.

He had recently wrapped the lensing of “Therese D.,” a drama starring Gilles Lellouche and Audrey Tautou, based on Francois Mauriac’s novel “Therese Desqueyroux.” It will open on Nov. 21 in France.

Miller is survived by his wife, Annie, and his son, Nathan.

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