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René Clément
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René Clément

René Clément was a film director and screenwriter. Clément studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he developed an interest that led to the pursuit of a career in filmmaking. In 1936, he directed his first film, a 20 minute short written and starred in by Jacques Tati. Clément spent the latter part of the 1930s making documentaries in parts of the Middle East and Africa. In 1937, he and archaeologist Jules Barthou were in Yemen making preparations to film a documentary, the first ever of that country and one that includes the only known film image of Imam Yahya.

It would be almost ten years before Clément directed a feature film but his 1945 story of the French Resistance titled La Bataille du rail garnered much critical acclaim and commercial success. From there René Clément went on to become one of his country's most successful and respected directors, garnering numerous awards including two films that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the first in 1950 for The Walls of Malapaga (Au-delà des grilles) and the second time two years later for Forbidden Games (Jeux interdits). Film critic Leonard Maltin said "Jeux interdits is almost unquestionably the most compelling and intensely poignant drama featuring young children ever filmed."[cite this quote] Clément had international success with several films but his star-studded 1966 epic Is Paris Burning?, written by Gore Vidal and Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Paul Graetz was a costly box office failure.

Clément continued to make a few films until his retirement in 1975, including an international success with Rider On The Rain that starred Charles Bronson and Marlène Jobert. In 1984 the French motion picture industry honored his lifetime contribution to film with a special César Award.

René Clément died in 1996 and was buried in the local cemetery in Menton on the French Riviera where he had spent his years in retirement.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2008.

René Clément Facts

BirthdayMarch 18, 1913
BirthplaceBordeaux, France
Date of deathMarch 17, 1996 (age 82)

Selected Filmography

Not available.