Jean-Louis Trintignant died on Friday June 17 at the age of 91, his family announced to AFP. The actor of And God created the woman and Love is “died peacefully, of old age, this morning, at his home, in the Gard, surrounded by his loved ones”said his wife, Mariane Hoepfner Trintignant.
“If we make a passage on this earth, we must try to do something”. This maxim, Jean-Louis Trintignant applied it throughout a busy life. We will remember the actor with a thousand facets who hardly enjoyed public appearances on a red carpet and under the flashes of photographers. We will also remember this very special voice.
Jean-Louis Trintignant has appeared in nearly 120 films since 1956, including the cult And God created the woman of Roger Vadim with Brigitte Bardot, of whom he was the companion. He could have played the roles of seducer ad infinitum, but he chose to engage in a completely different register. He opts for the characters of “false weak” as in the braggart of Dino Risi or “real bastard” as in Is Paris burning? by René Clément, where he puts on the costume of a traitor.
In 1966, he appeared in Claude Lelouch’s film A man and a woman with Anouk Aimée. The film will win a Palme d’Or at Cannes. Three years later, he returned to the Croisette in Z of Costa Gavras. His role as a little judge who stands up to the military earned him the interpretation prize.
In the 80s and 90s he cultivated extremes in cinema. From Rohmer to Chabrol via Bertolucci. He plays in The Banker but also in The Good Pleasure Where The Great Forgiveness.
In 1998, to everyone’s surprise, he announced that he was shooting his last film: Those who love me will take the train by Patrice Chereau. He’s not retiring though. He wants “just do theater”. At the theater, where he never tires of playing the role of his daughter in Comedy on a station platform directed by Samuel Benchetrit at the Hébertot theater in Paris. But in 2003, the death of Marie under the blows of Bertrand Cantat put an end to this beautiful complicity. Trintignant is devastated.
This tragic death would not cease to haunt him: “I could have stopped my life at that moment”. Pushed by his relatives, he was back on stage, finding a “therapy” in poetry and theater. Apollinaire, Jules Renard, until the end he lent his voice to the authors he venerated.
Only the stubbornness of Michael Haneke will convince him to return to the cinema in Love, alongside Emmanuelle Riva. Their interpretation will earn them each a Caesar.
In 2017, he announced that he was suffering from cancer. In 2019, to everyone’s surprise, Jean-Louis Trintignant finds, at the age of 88, 53 years after A man and a womandirector Claude Lelouch and his partner Anouk Aimée, in The best years of a lifepresented Out of competition on the Croisette.
“What is interesting, in 40 years, is to be able to be several characters, to marry several lives”, said Jean-Louis Trintignant in the 1990s. “It’s a privilege that is reserved for very few people. The great happiness of being an actor is that”.