01/01/1998 at 12:00 AM EST

French film director Robert Bresson, 98, best known for his austere approach and for helping pave the way for the New Wave movement (1959's "Pickpocket"), Dec. 18, in Paris. On learning of his death, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin called Bresson a "master of the art of cinema of the 20th century."

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