Jacques Feyder  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Jacques Feyder (July 21, 1885 - May 24, 1948) was a Belgian screenwriter and international film director who was one of the founders of poetic realism in French cinema.

Born Jacques Frederix in Ixelles, Belgium, at age twenty-five he moved to Paris where he pursued an interest in acting, first on stage and then in film. Using the stage name, Jacques Feyder, he signed with Gaumont Film Company but his career was immediately interrupted by service with the Belgian army during World War I. At war's end, he returned to filmmaking and quickly built a reputation as one of the most innovative directors in French cinema.

After a highly successful career in France, in 1929 MGM offered Feyder the opportunity to work in Hollywood. There, he directed several silent films and talkies, including two starring Greta Garbo. In 1930, he directed Jetta Goudal in her only French language film made in Hollywood. He returned to France in 1934 and in 1935 made his most famous film, La Kermesse héroïque (also known as Carnival in Flanders). The film made fun of the then present-day political affairs and earned Feyder several international awards. Feyder also directed films in England and Germany but in 1940 had to flee France to the safety of Switzerland following the Nazi occupation during World War II.

In 1917, Feyder had married Parisian-born actress Françoise Rosay (1891-1974) with whom he had three sons. They remained together until his death in 1948 at Rive-de-Prangins, Switzerland. He was interred in the Cimètiere de Sorel Moussel, Eure et Loir, France.


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