Rivette, whose 28 films included 1991 hit "La Belle Noiseuse" (The Beautiful Troublemaker) and "Paris Nous Appartient" (Paris Belongs to Us), started out as a film critic like other future French New Wave pillars Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Eric Rohmer.
French President Francois Hollande's office issued a statement hailing Rivette as "one of the greatest filmmakers (who) marked several generations".
Former critic and president of the Cannes Film Festival Gilles Jacob said Rivette was "one of the most lucid, most inventive and freest of the New Wave".
Godard said of him: "Someone like Rivette who knows cinema so much better than I, shoots seldom, so people don't speak of him ... if he had made [only] 10 films he would have gone much farther than I”.
Born in Rouen, in 1953 Rivette joined Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, and François Truffaut, as a critic with the cinema magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, edited by André Bazin.
Like these others, he was also encouraged to go into film making, making his first feature film Paris Nous Appartient (Paris Belongs to Us), in 1961.