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Janine Bazin

French producer, doyenne

Janine Bazin, who co-produced the influential Gallic TV series “Cineastes de notre temps” (“Filmmakers of Our Time”) and who, with her husband, seminal film writer and critic Andre Bazin, provided a home for the rebellious young Francois Truffaut, died May 31 in the Paris suburb of Villeneuve-Saint-Georges. She was 80.

Born Janine Kirsch in Paris, she met future husband in the offices of Travail et Culture (Work and Culture), a militant association where Bazin headed the cinema department. The couple wed in 1949. Two years later, Bazin co-founded the film magazine “Cahiers du Cinema,” which he would edit until his death and whose reputation remains intimately linked to its spawning the auteur theory.

Among its contributors, many of whom became filmmakers, was Truffaut. In 1948, Bazin had been instrumental in getting him released from a house of corrections to which his father had him committed for being too wrapped up in filmgoing. The Bazins came to the rescue again when Truffaut went AWOL from the French Army. Truffaut dedicated his first pic, “The 400 Blows,” to Andre Bazin, who died in 1958, at age 40, the day after filming began.

Janine went on serving the cause of cinema for another 40 years. With Andre S. Labarthe, she initiated “Cineastes de notre temps,” a long-running series of filmed interviews with leading film talents, often directed by their peers.

From 1980 until 2001 Bazin headed the Belfort Film Festival, which promotes the work of young filmmakers and stages complete retrospectives honoring their established elders.

She is survived by her son, Florent a noted cameraman.

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