Primarily known as a stage director in his native France, Patrice Chéreau also made quite a name for himself in the realm of cinema with such acclaimed features as Queen Margot (1994) and Intimacy (2001). The Lezigne native crossed from stage to screen with the 1975 thriller Flesh and the Orchid, and the auspicious debut earned its up-and-coming director two César nominations. In 1984, Chéreau shared a Best Writing César with Hervé Guibert for his feature The Wounded Man, and in 1994, Chéreau scored his biggest hit to date with the bloody historical drama Queen Margot. Adapted from Alexandre Dumas' novel, Queen Margot was nominated for Best Costume Design at the 1995 Academy Awards in addition to taking home top prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and the César Awards. Following a pair of successful television endeavors, Chéreau returned to the screen to great success with the emotional drama Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (1998). An introspective tale of an artist's final wish to be buried in his hometown and the friends and acquaintances who see that his wish is granted, the film was nominated for 11 Césars and took home trophies for Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress. Though his 2001 drama Intimacy drew fire from conservatives for its graphic, lingering sex scenes, the director publicly defended the film with claims that it was about human relationships, and sex was simply one component of many that makes up those relationships. Despite the controversy, the film proved quite a hit in the European market. In 2003, Chéreau documented the fragile relationship between two estranged brothers with the tender drama His Brother. His final film, which he also co-wrote, was 2009's Persecution. Chéreau died of lung cancer in 2013; he was 68.
by Jason Buchanan biography