Jean-Louis Trintignant has filmed for the greatest European filmmakers – Truffaut, Costa-Gavras, Bertolucci, Risi or Haneke… An innumerable filmography, difficult to decide, so much does it reflect a demanding artist, master of his career and his choices . Behind his films shines through the man, honest and coherent.
“And God Created Woman” (1956)
Iconic 1956 film by Roger Vadim starring Brigitte Bardot, And God created the woman reveals one of the greatest actors of French cinema. The spotlight is enormous in the shadow of Brigitte Bardot, who dazzles the screen and reveals herself to the world. Scandal for its nude scenes and the vision of a liberated woman, the film is shunned in France, but an international success. Trintignant will have an affair with the actress whose marriage with Vadim is in a bad way following the controversy that the film has aroused.
“The Braggart” (1962)
The Braggart (original title : He sorpasso) is an Italian comedy by Dino Risi (1962) in which Jean-Louis Trintignant meets Vittorio Gassman, legend of transalpine cinema. Trintignant plays a studious, shy and complexed law student who meets a casual, charming man… Braggart but so endearing. He will make her live two days of hectic hikes from Rome to the Tuscan Riviera…
At the same time funny, light, and of great depth on friendship and on what it tells about Italian society in the post-war years, the road movie The Braggart very quickly acquired the status of cult film of Italian cinema.
“A Man and a Woman” (1966)
It’s for Jean-Louis winning glory with Claude Lelouch’s film, Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1966. A man and a woman is a mythical film, where Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimé embody the redemptive love between two beings in perdition. A man and a woman also opens the world to Claude Lelouch who imposes his style there. It will find its actors in two sequels: A man and a woman: Twenty years already (1986), then The Best Years of a Life (2019), both screened at Cannes.
“My Night at Maud’s” (1969)
Jean-louis Trintignant responds to Françoise Fabian in My night at Maud’s, in 1969. The film recounts a long Christmas night between Jean-Louis, an engineer in Clermont-Ferrand, and Maud, a free-thinking, independent and divorced young woman. In a relationship of seduction and fascination, they confront their ideas on religion, marriage and life. Written and directed by Eric Rohmer, the feature film received the Méliès Prize and was nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 42nd Academy Awards.
1969 was a year of glory and success for Jean-Louis Trintignant. He obtains the first role of the new film of the Franco-Greek director Costa-Gavras: Z. In the shoes of an examining magistrate, the French actor leads the investigation into the assassination of a progressive deputy, murdered in a Mediterranean country.
Endowed with a natural authority, Jean-Louis Trintignant interprets, without raising his voice, this magistrate struggling with the beginnings of fascism that the Greek director Costa Gavras seeks to denounce. “We always say that actors should not do politics. But we have to do it, we do too little”explains the actor at the release of the indictment film. “I am delighted to engage in a political film”.
At the Cannes Film Festival, this very committed film won the jury prize and Jean-Louis Trintignant received the best actor prize. A year later, Z won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. A gateway to the United States for Trintignant.
“The Conformist” (1970)
Jean-Louis Trintignant adheres to the political films of the 70s which impose themselves in Europe. With the films of Costa-Gavras (Z), The Conformist by Bernardo Bertolucci in 1970 is one of its finest jewels. The actor embodies a man traumatized in his youth who, to integrate into society, joins the fascist police then in force in Italy. When he receives the mission to assassinate one of his former teachers, a bridgehead of the anti-fascist league, he lives a love affair with a woman played by Dominique Sanda who questions him.
“Long Live Sunday” (1983)
Jean-Louis Trintignant is a Hitchcockian anti-hero embarked on a film noir in the second degree, alongside Fanny Ardant. In 1983, Can’t wait for Sunday is a rare genre film by François Truffaut, more a tribute to a cinema he loves than a true thriller. The black and white refers to the thriller of the 1940s and 1950s and Jean-Louis Trintignant embodies a kind of seducer in spite of himself who will marry at the end, while the dead are piling up around him. Ironic.
Passion and love dominate the filmography of Jean-Louis Trintignant. Directed by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, Palme d’or at Cannes in 2012, Love sees the end of an elderly couple, where Jean-Louis Trintignant assists his wife until death, played by Emmanuelle Riva. The two actors will receive a Special Mention in the Cannes awards, and the film will be a great success at the box office.
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