Death of Jean-Louis Trintignant, giant of cinema, at the age of 91

Death of Jean-Louis Trintignant, giant of cinema, at the age of 91

DISAPPEARANCE – The actor of And God created the woman and Love died “peacefully, of old age, this morning, at his home, in the Gard, surrounded by his relatives”, said his wife Mariane Hoepfner Trintignant.

A key figure in French cinema and theater, Jean-Louis Trintignant died Friday at the age of 91, his wife Mariane Hoepfner Trintignant announced to AFP via a press release sent by his agent. The actor of And God created the woman and Love died peacefully, of old age, this morning, at his home, in the Gard, surrounded by his relatives,” said his wife. On stage or in front of the camera, he never looked for show. And yet with Lelouch, with Haneke and so many others, we only saw him. Jean-Louis Trintignant is no more.

Jean-Louis Trintignant was born on December 11, 1931 in the Gard, and belongs to an honorable family who lived in Pont-Saint-Esprit. His father Raoul, a former resistant, even became mayor of this pretty village for a time from 1944 to 1947. He began, without too much conviction, studying law at the faculty of Aix-en-Provence but quickly moved Paris in 1950 to realize his dream: to become an actor. He saw there a period of scarcity where, knowing the difficulties of any beginner artist, he lived in a chicken coop in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in shared accommodation.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and his daughter Marie (1962-2003) in 2001 in Comedy on a station platform. The actor died Friday at the age of 91. AFP/Francois Guillot

But, working in odd jobs to pay for his studies at the IDHEC (Institut des Hautes Études cinematographiques), his perseverance ended up being rewarded: he joined several theater troupes, including the famous Compagnie Grenier-Hussenot. If he took his first steps in the cinema under the direction of Christian-Jaque in If all the guys in the world in 1956, it was obviously with And God created the woman of Roger Vadim, the same year he is noticed. He then shares the poster with Brigitte Bardot, who will become thanks to the film an icon of femininity of the 1950s. A love affair between the two actors will continue during the months following the shooting. After his military service from which he suffered a lot, Jean-Louis Trintignant was hired by Maurice Jacquemont to interpret Hamlet.

In 1966, he starred in Claude Lelouch’s masterpiece A Man and a Woman alongside Anouk Aimée. Filmed with few means, the feature film will receive the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Jean-Louis Trintignant interprets the role of a car racer whose son Antoine is in boarding school in Normandy. He then meets the mother of a student with whom he falls madly in love. A sentimental story against a backdrop of drama beautifully set to music by the irreplaceable Pierre Barouh, who passed away in December 2016.

From actor to director, journey of an iconoclast

But Jean-Louis Trintignant also goes to the other side of the camera with A full day in 1971 then The lifeguard in 1978. In this last film, he directs Guy Marchand and Jean-Claude Brialy in a comedy whose filming will be eventful and which will ultimately be a commercial failure. Trintignant will not renew the experience. In the 1980s, he made his one and only film with François Truffaut: Roll on Sunday. In the 1990s, he played in Jacques Audiard’s first feature film Look at Men Falling (1994) where he rubbed shoulders with Mathieu Kassovitz. There he camps an aging crook who takes a liking to a young man who is a bit lost. Later in 1997, he was directed by Patrice Chéreau in Those who love me will take the train (1997).

In 2003, the loss of his daughter Marie, under the blows of the singer of Noir Désir Bertrand Cantat, plunges him into an inconsolable sadness from which he will never really be able to get out. In September 2017 again, he spoke at the microphone of Europe 1 of this irrepressible pain which continued to assail him even in the twilight of his existence: “It has been 14 years and, for 14 years, I have not stopped thinking about it, to think of my daughter.

In 2008, he confided in the drama by likening the murder of his daughter to a form of suicide. “When someone commits suicide, it’s the fault of the parents, isn’t it?” A tragic episode which will remain, until the last day, the absolute catastrophe of his life. In 2012, a film in which he starred once again won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. This is Amour by the Austrian Michael Haneke in which he plays with Emmanuelle Riva an octogenarian couple with indestructible feelings. A majestic conclusion for the actor who, all his life, will have dedicated his existence to a cinema of intimacy and mystery.

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