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French Helmer Patrice Chereau Dies at 68

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 in Paris of lung cancer. He was 68.

A screenwriter and actor as well, Chereau was director of the Theatre des Amandiers in Nanterre, France. His unusual production of “The Ring” in Bayreuth 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.”

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