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April 20, 2016 12:58 pm

French Film Industry Mourns Israeli Actress, Filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz

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Ronit Elkabetz in the 2009 film "Jaffa." She died from cancer at age 51. Photo: Transfax film via Wikimedia Commons.

Ronit Elkabetz in the 2009 film “Jaffa.” She died from cancer at age 51. Photo: Transfax film via Wikimedia Commons. – As Israel mourns the death of renowned Israeli actress and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz on Tuesday, international expressions of condolences are also pouring in, particularly from the French film industry, in which Elkabetz was active.

Elkabetz — who had won multiple Israeli Ophir awards (the equivalent of America’s Oscars) and most recently was nominated for a best foreign film Golden Globe award in 2014 for the movie Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, in which she starred and co-directed with her brother — died of cancer at age 51. She is survived by her husband, Avner Yashar, and 4-year-old twin sons. She was buried on Wednesday at the Kiryat Shaul Cemetery in northern Tel Aviv. Former Israeli president Shimon Peres mourned her death by calling her a “cultural ambassador” of Israel. But Elkabetz was also widely known and admired in the French film industry, having acted in many French films and being a regular fixture at the Cannes Film Festival for about 15 years.

“Elkabetz — generous, inspired, demanding — was a great friend of France,” said French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay in a statement reported by the French newspaper Le Figaro and translated by “Actress, screenwriter, and director, she was one of the brightest figures of the Israeli cinema, one of its greatest ambassadors worldwide. She loved working with French cinema and she still had beautiful projects planned. She defended a certain idea of cinema, independent and engaged, looking at the entire world and addressing it by touching on topics anchored in the reality of her own universe.”

Other condolence messages from French actors and filmmakers have continued pouring in. Gilles Jacob, a renowned French film director, critic, and former president of the Cannes Film Festival, tweeted, “Sadness. The death of Ronit Elkabetz, a great Israeli actress, script writer, and director, at the age of 51 from cancer.”

Daniel Shek, the former Israeli ambassador to France, also tweeted that “the flame of Ronit Elkabetz, great lady of cinema, beautiful person, friend, has extinguished at only 51 years. What sadness.”

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