Claude Berri who just died at age 74 was a versatile producer, director and sometimes actor, better known in France than abroad, although his very first effort, a short film called “The Chicken,” won him an Oscar. Berri could be tremendously funny but with a deep melancholy streak that came through in films such as Tchao Pantin with the beloved French comedian Coluche.
He is the author of big-budget pictures such as “Germinal” as well as more delicate ones often based on his own experience (“The Old Man and the Child”). A long string of successes include the Marcel Pagnol Trilogy, starting with the gorgeous “Manon des Sources.” Last year he produced the runaway box office hit “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis.” François Truffaut said of him that “he was not a cinephile director who would make references to existing films but someone who looked at life itself and had stories to tell.”
World cinema has lost a major figure.