Malle's first solo effort was the 1957 thriller Frantic; his next movie, The Lovers (1958), contained graphic erotic content and established the director's reputation for courting controversy. Part of the French new wave movement, Malle tackled other taboo topics with A Very Private Affair (1962) and The Fire Within (1963).
His American film debut came in 1978 with Pretty Baby, followed in 1980 by the acclaimed Atlantic City, for which he received an Oscar nod as Best Director; his later works continued to push the envelope, including 1992's Damage. Married to actress Candice Bergen since 1980, Malle died Nov. 23, 1995, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
A bold experiment in film narrative that paid off in critical raves and cult status, Louis Malle's drama consists almost entirely of the dinner conversation of two real-life friends. More or less playing themselves, Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn wrote their own dialogue, which ranges in subject from the New York theater world to rain forests, and in tone from hilarious to heartbreaking.