Disappearance / Jean-Louis Trintignant

Friday, June 17, Jean-Louis Trintignant died ” peacefully, in old age, surrounded by loved ones », in Collias, On the side of Uzesin the Gard

Jean-Louis Trintignant – Romy Schneider – Le Combat dans l’île – Photo credit DR

Jean-Louis Trintignant could have become a director… Born in 1930 in Piolenc, not very far from Orange, he “went to Paris” at the age of 20 after studying law and enrolled at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques ( IDHEC, the ancestor of FEMIS). However, it was only much later that he would move on to directing with two nonconformist films, A full day (1972) and The lifeguard (1979) . ” It wasn’t my thing he declared. I lacked the qualities to become a good film director. I don’t have a leading spirit. I believe that if you are a director you are obliged to have this spirit (1). At the same time, he also took comedy lessons from Charles Dullin, then those from Tania Balachova. In 1949, studying in Aix-en-Provence, he had seen the actor in his last performance of The Miser. He had also had the opportunity to see Julius Caesar of William Shakespeare in the arenas of Nîmes. He therefore became an actor, first on the boards, then in the cinema. The theater will help him overcome his pathological shyness and erase his southern accent. In 1956, he toured under the direction of Roger Vadim And God created the woman, the film that would make Brigitte Bardot both a myth and a global sex symbol and reveal it. But his budding career was interrupted for two years by his military service and the Algerian War. Politically engaged, he does not want to do it. In 2012, he declared himself an anarchist: I was a communist sympathizer, I sold The Human. Today, I no longer read newspapers, except The Team… I’m more of a socialist. Even anarchist. The three poets I say in the theater are anarchists. I like the idea of ​​anarchy a lot, even though I know that we won’t save the world with it. “Not one in a hundred and yet they exist! », as Léo Ferré used to say. »(2)
It was cinema that relaunched it from 1959, notably with
The Battle on the Island ‘Alain Cavalier (1962) whom he met at IDHEC, and The Braggart by Dino Risi (1962), which he shared with Vittorio Gassman. In Italy, Jean-Louis Trintignant will also have toured with Valerio Zurlini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Luigi Comencini and Ettore Scola. For Sergio Corbucci, it will be Silence the mute vigilante of his western The Great Silence (1968). But it is the year 1966 which will have been another important stage in his career with A man and a woman by Claude Lelouch petit film fauché” which won the Grand Prix of the International Film Festival of walking sticks (the highest award at the time, before the return of the Palme d’Or), then the Oscar for best foreign film. ” For the first time, I felt inventive, I said to myself: “Ah, I’m not bad anyway.” he will say modestly. Jean-Louis Duroc, his character, was a doctor in the original screenplay. Claude Lelouch turned him into a racing driver… Nephew of car racers Maurice and Louis Trintignant, Jean-Louis Trintignant was passionate about motorsport and himself a driver (circuit and rally) and will participate in several competitions during the 1970s/80s. Sa 3e wife, Mariane Hoepfner, was a rally driver.

A Man and A Woman – Claude Lelouch – Photo credit: DR

His career launched, we will see him in commercial films as well as in auteur cinema. From the young first or the ideal son-in-law, he will also put on the clothes of more complex and ambiguous characters, far from what he is in reality, even though… : “ It’s difficult because I don’t think a film actor has the right to compose at the same time… That is to say, you can’t take on a character who is foreign to you. You have to put inside a character things that you have in yourself. To play different characters and at the same time inhabit them deeply, one must have a fairly wide range in life. » (3). His performance as a determined judge in Z by Costa-Gavra earned him the Interpretation Prize at Cannes in 1969.
In 1970, during the filming in Rome of the
Conformist by Bernardo Bertolucci, he and Nadine Trintignant (whom he married after divorcing Stéphane Audran) experience a terrible drama with the death at 10 months of their little girl Pauline. It is in Nice that he interprets Inspector Carella in charge of investigating a series of murders in Without apparent mobile by Philippe Labro (1971).

CiaoViva - JLT - Without Apparent Mobile
Jean-Louis Trintignant – Without apparent motive – Photo credit: DR

In 1977, he took a break and made only two films, including Locations by Michel Soutter. Shortly after filming he said: I had decided to cut a little bit. The world of cinema is a somewhat closed world and if we stay between us we lose the meaning of real issues and public taste. I wanted to immerse myself in a completely different life. An actor needs to recharge like a battery. I recharge. I have no cravings at all. I recharge myself to start again better » (4). In the 1980s, he was still showing nearly 30 films, but he gradually withdrew from film sets (11 films only in 1 years990), to come back and dedicate to his first loves, the theater and poetry, especially with his eldest daughter and accomplice, Marie. He now lives in Uzès in the Gard. In 1996 he acquired the DRouge Garance wine region (… in homage to Arletty).
His life is marked by a new drama, death tragic of Marie in 2003, victim of domestic violence. To Mireille Dumas, two years later, he says : After Marie’s drama, I stayed in an armchair for six months, my eyes vague, without moving… I said to myself: “well, if it’s going to continue like this, you have to stop living” and then, he there is another solution, it is to try to live again » (5). He does not give up on the stage. Apollinaire, Desnos, Prévert, Vian and Jules Renard brought him salvation for a time, but he withdrew completely from cinema. I no longer want to make movies. I don’t like it anymore, even if I’m very proud to have shot in Love, with Michael Haneke. I think my real job is acting. Films can be made without actors, not a play. We run after the cinema, out of vanity, for prestige. By greed too: you earn eight times more than on the boards! » (2)
He will work very little with the representatives of the New Wave, Claude Chabrol (The Hinds), Eric Rohmer (My Night at Mau’s), François Truffaut (his last film, Can’t wait for Sunday)but four times under the direction of Alain Robe-Grillet, leader of the New Roman, four times also with Nadine Trintignant and six times with Claude Lelouch.
Among his partners on the screen, he will have given the reply to Brigitte Bardot, Romy Schneider, Anouk Aime, Fanny Ardant, Francois Fabian, Stephane Audran, Carla Gravina, Monica Vitti, Laura Morante, JAcqueline Bisset, Dominique Sanda, Laura Antonelli, Ann-Margret, Jean Seberg…
underfire of Roger Spotisswoode, he is not tempted by a career across the Atlantic and will moreover refuse a role in Encounter of the 3rd Kind and Apocalypse now. Nevertheless, for shiningStanley Kubrick will ask that he double Jack Nicholson for the french voice...
With lat the loss of Marie from which he does not recover and the disease (a cancer)… he often speaks of suicide and death: “JI don’t really have any other ambition. I will try to make it successful. Don’t end up on a drip, in a hospital, but die healthy. In this, I am suicidal. If for a moment it’s irreversible, there’s no need to wait… It would be degrading...” (2)

Cannes 2017 - Happy End Trintignant Haneke
Jean-Louis Trintignant – Michael Haneke – Cannes Film Festival – Photo credit: Philippe Prost

And then Michael Haneke manages to convince him to come back At the movie theater and play in Love, with Emmanuelle Riva. Un drama about old age, illness and death. Lth movie wins the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Extremely rare, the Jury awards a special mention to two actors. Love also gets the César for best film and the Oscar for best foreign film. Jean-Louis Trintignant is rewarded by the European Award for Best Performer 2012you the César for best actor in 2013. He turns again for Haneke in happy ending (2017), before to agree to shoot for Claude Lelouch “a sequel” toA man and a woman, with Anouk Aimee, The Best Years of a Life (2019).

Ciao Viva - Cannes 2019 The most beautiful years 03
The best years of a life – Cannes 2019 – Photo credit: Philippe Prost

In may 2018 it is on the stage of the Célestins theater in Lyon with Trintignant/Mille/Piazzolla, poetic and musical show (music by Astor Piazzolla, musical direction Daniel Mille),
His last stage appearance dates back to March 2021 during the Caesar ceremony. He had quoted the song by Georges Brassens, Marquise before to name the male and female hopefuls.

On the occasion of the publication in 2015 of Jean-Louis Trintignant The Nonconformist, the biography dedicated to him by Vincent Quivy, the novelist and essayist Garbiella Trujillo wrote: ” (…) a recognizable voice among all (…), an involuntary charm, an imperfect handsome face, less charismatic than that of Delon, but more discreet than that of Jean-Pierre Marielle: much more distinguished than Belmondo, more mysterious than Jean Rochefort and Jean-Claude Brialy, more serene than Jean-Pierre Léaud, Jean-Louis Trintignant is the most consensual and defensible male idol of our century, the one whose legendary elegance, timidity and reserve can be admired , and courage in the face of adversity » (6).

RIP Mr Trintignant :o(

To listen :
Jean-Louis Trintignant, A Naked Voice (Radio France/France Culture – 5 interviews – July 2004) (1)
Jean-Louis Trintignant bed Prevert Vian Desnos:
Strange Strangers by Jacques Prévert (3mn)
The deserter by Boris Vian (2 mins)
The Four Without a Neck by Robert Desnos (1mn35)

Have :
Jean-Louis Trintignant – Interview about Love by Michael Haneke (RTS – December 20, 2012 – 4mn07)
Jean-Louis and Marie Trintignant, a real bond (INA/Antenna 2 – 1985 /France 2 – 2001 – 6mn26)
Jean-Louis Trintignant (Christian Defaye – Cinema Special – RTS – October 1977 – 46mn) (4)
Jean-Louis Trintignant (Mireille Dumas Private Life Public Life – November 2005 – 19mn06) (5)
To read :
Jean Louis Trintignant Maintenance (TeleramaOctober 2012) (2)
Jean-Louis Trintignant, the elegance of loving by Gabriella Trujillo (Marianne – September 18, 2015) (6)
Jean-Louis Trintignant the Nonconformist (Vincent Quivy – Biography – Seuil Edition – 2015)
Jean-Louis Trintignant – On the side of Uzès (Interviews with André Asseo – The Cherche-Midi – 2012)

His filmography
Philippe Descottes

We wish to thank the writer of this short article for this outstanding material

Disappearance / Jean-Louis Trintignant