Rolex has paid tribute to one of France’s leading directors and actors, Patrice Chéreau, who died on 7 October of cancer at the age of 68.
Renowned in France as a prodigy and artistic powerhouse directing film, theatre and opera, he is known abroad principally for the many highly praised and sometimes controversial films he directed, including Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train, Intimacy and Gabrielle.
Patrice Chéreau recently participated in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, mentoring gifted young Polish director Michał Borczuch. Their mentoring year ended in June 2013 and the French director was scheduled to join his protégé with the other protégés and mentors at a celebration in Venice on 21 October commemorating their year in the Arts Initiative.
“Patrice Chéreau was extremely generous in the way he set about the mentorship,” said Borczuch. “He did not try to change who I am as a director. Instead, he held up a mirror to my work and allowed an intellectual debate about the theatre that was hugely enjoyable.”
Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex, paid tribute to the director: “As well as being one of the greatest names in French theatre and cinema, Patrice Chéreau was a generous and committed mentor, and we were fortunate to be able to enlist him in the Arts Initiative,” she said.
“From our first discussions with him, he was very enthusiastic about the programme, and then he gave considerable time and energy during the mentoring year, with Patrice and his protégé studying each other’s work and engaging in some very intense discussions about the nature of theatre. Under the circumstances, it was extremely kind of Patrice to give so much of himself. In everything he did, he focused on people and on relationships, and that shows in all his work. He will be very much in our minds as we commemorate, in Venice later this month, the achievements of the 2012-2013 mentoring year, not least his mentorship with Michał. We send our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”