Goodbye to the icon of French cinema, Jean-Louis Trintignant
World famous actor Jean-Louis Trintignant, known for films such as A man and a woman, The conformist and Lovepassed away on Friday June 17th. He was 91 years old.
Born in Piolenc and brought up near Pont-Saint-Esprit and Aix-en-Provence, Trintignant abandoned his law studies to become an actor in 1951. After some success on the Parisian stage, playing such difficult roles as Hamlet , he shot to fame in 1956 playing Brigitte Bardot’s cuckolded husband in Roger Vadim And God created women– and by having an off-screen affair with his co-star who broke up their two marriages, that of Bardot with Vadim and that of Trintignant with actress Stéphane Audran.
The main roles followed in Claude Lelouche A man and a woman (1966), opposite Anouk Aimée, the political thriller by Costa-Gavras Z (1969), and the heady and romantic Eric Rohmer My night at Maud’s (1969). Internationally, Trintignant might be best known for his performance as a sexually conflicted fascist in Bernardo Bertolucci’s masterpiece, The conformist (1970). On his heels, the actor turned down roles in Francis Ford Coppola Revelation nowby Steven Spielberg Dating of the Third Kindand Bertolucci Last Tango in Paris, apparently opting for lighter French and Italian dishes. Notable roles of the 80s and 90s include those of André Techiné Appointment (1985), opposite Juliette Binoche, the haunting of Krzysztof Kieślowski Three colors: Red (1994), and that of Patrice Chéreau Those who love me can take the train (1998).
In 2003, Trintignant fell into a depression after her daughter from her second marriage, actress Marie Trintignant, was killed by her boyfriend, French singer Bertrand Cantat. The actor emerged from his darkness in 2012 to play an elderly man caring for his sick wife in Michael Haneke’s Oscar-winning Palme d’Or. Love. Trintignant returns once again to the screen in Claude Lelouch The best years of a life (2019), its sequel to A man and a womanwhich incorporates footage from the previous film to reflect the memories of an old man dreaming of the love affair that has long saved him from despair.
Here are some career highlights to stream in honor of the actor who appeared in more than 130 films during a career spanning seven decades.
A Man and a Woman, Claude Lelouch (1966),
Trintignant stars as Jean-Louis, a racing driver reeling from the death of his wife, who tentatively begins a romance with Anne (Anouk Aimée), a mother at her son’s school, who has also lost her son. husband. The beautifully vaporous, nostalgic cinematography and Francis Lai’s famously catchy theme helped propel the film to win a host of awards, including the Palme d’Or at Cannes and the Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Story and of the best scenario. An amateur racing driver himself, Trintignant has done his own on-screen racing.
Z, Costa Gavras (1969)
Greek expatriate director Costa-Gavras’ political thriller was loosely based on the 1963 assassination of a left-wing Greek activist. The film stars Yves Montand as a politician whose murder is covered up and Trintignant as a magistrate brought in to investigate, stopping at nothing to uncover the truth. The action-packed film was universally acclaimed upon its release and won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Trintignant won the jury prize at Cannes for best actor.
My Night at Maud’s, Éric Rohmer (1969)
The third installment in the acclaimed Six Moral Tales series from the New Wave director tells the story of Jean-Louis, an engineer from Clermont-Ferrand who spots a woman in church and becomes instantly convinced that she will be his wife. Subsequently, an old friend invites him to stay with Maud (Françoise Fabian), a beautiful divorcee. When it starts to snow, Maud invites Jean-Louis to spend the night, throwing the poor boy into a crisis of indecision and doubt. The vigorous young man in him wants to sleep with her, but his Catholic self, which has already found its ideal wife, resists. Maud is shy, attractive and hurt by her restraint. The deep philosophical debate that fills the film’s images is typical of Rohmer’s beloved work.
The Conformist, Bernardo Bertolucci (1970)
Based on Alberto Moravia‘s novel, this visually stunning and ethically compelling film stars Trintignant as Marcello Clerici, a fascist assassin hired to kill his former mentor. Bertolucci and his cinematographer, Vittorio Storaro, have together created a visual masterpiece that explores the troubled present and past of a man with no real will or moral compass, hungry for conformity, believing he can achieve happiness by convention.
Three Colors: Red, Krzysztof Kieslowski, (1994)
The last part of the astonishing trilogy of the Polish director (preceded by Blue and White) explores the human bond through the story of Valentine (Irène Jacob), a student and model who crosses paths with an aging judge, played by Trintignant, when she accidentally hits his dog with his car. Time Out London Critic Geoff Andrew wrote: “As Kieślowski delves into various interconnected lives, the central drama is the electrifying encounter between Valentin – caring, troubled – and the Judge, whose tendency to play God does not initially correspond to girl compassion. It’s a film about fate and chance, loneliness and communication, cynicism and faith, doubt and desire; about lives affected by forces beyond rationalization… Incredibly beautiful, powerfully scored and impeccably acted, the film is virtually flawless and one of the greatest cinematic achievements of decades. A masterpiece.” According to Wikipedia, Red is one of only two films with a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes, the other being Ingmar Bergman Fanny and Alexander.
Love, Michael Haneke (2012)
When Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), musician and teacher, suffers a stroke that leaves her partially paralyzed, her husband Georges (Trintignant) promises to take care of her. After a second stroke leaves her demented and unable to speak, he resolves to keep his promise against their daughter’s (Isabelle Huppert) wishes, but the task becomes increasingly difficult and his resentment grows. In the hands of a director whose films…Fun Games, The Piano Teacher, Unknown Code, The White Ribbon— are stark and stark, the sentiment never overshadows the harsh reality the couple faces. There is nothing, after all, more painful than seeing someone you love in pain.
Andrea Meyer wrote creative treatments for commercial directors, a sex and movies column for IFC, and a horror script for MGM. Her first novel, room for love (St. Martin’s Press) is a romantic comedy based on an article she wrote for the New York Post, for which she pretended to look for a roommate as a ploy to meet men. A longtime film and entertainment journalist and former editor of indieWIRE, Andrea has interviewed more actors and directors than she can remember. Her articles and essays have appeared in publications such as Elle, Glamour, Variety, Time Out NY and the Boston Globe.