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Jacques Rivette, French New Wave film director, dies aged 87

French director Jacques Rivette, a secretive pioneer of convention-bashing New Wave film who brought renown to women actors such as Emmanuelle Beart, has died aged 87.

Rivette's films - like many of the New Wave era - routinely appeared at elite film festivals though did not always enjoy commercial success.

French president Francois Hollande, in a statement announcing Rivette's death, hailed him for creating film's with major female roles.

Among them were his first film, La Religieuse (The Nun), the award-winning La Belle Noiseuse (The Beautiful Troublemaker) in 1991, and a 1996 version of the Joan of Arc story called Jeanne la Pucelle.

Serge Toubiana, head of the Cinematheque museum in Paris, described on France-Info radio Rivette's "sense of conspiracy, sense of secrecy" and the "magnificent place" he provided to women characters.

With often-tousled hair and a slight stature, Rivette was lesser known than other New Wave icons Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.

Like them, he started out as a film critic - and was the first of the group to go on to make his own movies.

In a critique more than half a century ago in the esteemed journal Cahiers du Cinema, he observed: "There are things that should only be faced with fear and trembling; death, without a doubt, is one of them."

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