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Jean-Jacques Beineix, director with tormented relations with the cinema

Despite the success of “37 ° 2 in the morning”, a film that has become cult, the French director Jean-Jacques Beineix, who died Thursday at the age of 75, had painful relations with the cinema, which pushed him to take refuge in documentaries and literature. .

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“I always had a kind of doubt about success. (…) I always wondered what was going to fall on me”, admitted this passionate about cinema, theater, literature, comics, who also feared success: “There is a danger in success, I I always thought that”.

After a literary baccalaureate, Jean-Jacques Beineix, born on October 8, 1946, began medical studies without finishing them, prepared for a prestigious film school but narrowly failed, produced effective advertising spots (in particular an anti-AIDS spot multi -broadcast “It will not pass by me” but gives up, because “it is good to put your talent at the service of causes” and that advertising, “it was not causes”.

He cut his teeth as an assistant director with great French directors: Jacques Becker, Claude Berri, Claude Zidi, before his first solo feature film, “Diva”, “1981”. He uses the recipes that will make him famous – neat photography, bright and catchy colors, poetic realism – but which attract critics condemning his “advertising aesthetics”.

Success is not immediate in France. “Diva” however has the favor of the Toronto festival, which awards it its “Grand Prize”.

Triumphant return home. The film won four Césars, the public got carried away for this thriller featuring a diva refusing to have her voice recorded, served by magnificent opera arias.

Six years later, Beineix knows the consecration with “37°2 in the morning”, a story of love and madness, which reveals Béatrice Dalle, actress with animal sensuality.

Between the two, in 1983, he suffered a bitter failure, with “The Moon in the Gutter”. “Criticism murdered me”, he will say, evoking “a trauma whose wave has long propagated”.

The director will experience a new failure in 1989 with “Roselyne et les lions”, a story of acrobats inspired by a true story, then a half-failure in 1992 with “IP5”, an initiatory film that he considered to be his “best” and the last of French star Yves Montand, who died at the end of filming.

In 2001, the psychoanalytical thriller “Mortel Transfer” is not better received. A financial pit for the director, “ruined”.