Director Jacques Rozierwho was believed to be the last surviving member of the French New Wave, is dead. He was 96 years old.

French media reported that a close acquaintance of the filmmaker confirmed his death on June 2 in his hometown of Paris, after a short hospital stay.

Rozier never achieved the fame of Jean-Luc GodardFrançois Truffaut, Agnès Varda, Jacques Demy, Claude Chabrol or Eric Rohmer, but his work had its place in the French New Wave and pushed boundaries in a way that paved the way for today’s filmmakers.

After studying at the first French film school IDHEC, Rozier made his debut in directing as a TV assistant, while directing his own short films, including Back to School (1956) and Blue Jeans (1958).

This last work was presented at a festival of short films in the city of Tours, where it caught the attention of the then film critic Godard, who highlighted it as one of the seminal works of publishing alongside short films by Varda and Demy.

Rozier’s first feature film Farewell Filipina created during the inaugural Cannes Critics’ Week in 1962 alongside films such as American director Rick Carrier strangers in town And I Nuovi Angeli by the Italian Ugo Gregoretti.

Set in the summer of 1960, it revolves around a young television assistant about to be sent to Algeria for his compulsory military service.

Deciding to take advantage of his last days of freedom, he quits his job and leaves for Corsica with two inseparable young friends he recently met in Paris.

Featuring a young amateur cast spotted on the streets of Paris and characterized by an Italian neo-realist aesthetic, the film authentically captures the mood of French youth at the time.

That youthful vibe continued in his second film On the side of Orouet (1971), an observation work following three young women on vacation in Brittany.

Rozier has only directed five feature films in his career, but has also dabbled in shorts, music videos and TV series.

A notable short is the 1964 work Paparazzi, explore Brigitte Bardot’s relationship with photographers trying to capture her every move while on the Italian island of Capri filming Godard’s classic Contempt.

It was one of the first works to explore the rise of celebrity culture and the loss of intimacy that came with international stardom. It is included as a bonus on Studiocanal’s next 4K restoration reissue of Contempt.

Later features included The Castaways of Turtle Island (1976), about a package holiday program offering tourists a Robinson Crusoe experience, and Maine Ocean, installed on the train of the same name running between Paris and the port city of Saint-Nazaire. The latter film won the Jean Vigo Prize in 1986.

His latest movie Martingale Fifistarring Jean Lefebvre as a successful director and writer who rewrites his new comedy to escape the clutches of a cabal with unintended consequences, premiered in Venice in 2021 but never gained theatrical distribution.

Rozier’s death marks the end of an era for French cinema announced by his lifelong friend and supporter Godard, passed away last september.

French media quote Godard as writing in 2019: “When Agnès Varda died, I thought: the real New Wave, there are only two of us left, me… and Jacques Rozier who started a little before me.