Since the dawn of cinema, France has simultaneously and uninterruptedly produced good mainstream movies and arthouse films. Georges Lautner, who has died aged 87, unabashedly claimed that the almost 50 films he directed from 1958 to 1992 belong to the former category. Lautner's mainly cops-and-robbers movies were among the most popular films ever made in France.
"I didn't want glory or to make masterpieces but popular films that would please the greatest number," he once explained. "International recognition didn't interest me. I was passionate at what I did with my faithful team. We made the films we wanted as quickly as possible. But with time, my commercial films appear almost intellectual."
Lautner's underestimated films were never invited to Cannes until, in 2012, the festival put together a belated "Homage to Georges Lautner". His death prompted President François Hollande to declare that his films had "become part of the cinematic heritage