France’s ‘finest screenwriter ever’ Jean-Claude Carrière dies aged 89

Jean-Claude Carrière

French writer and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who penned some of the most memorable movies of the last six decades including “The Tin Drum” and “Cyrano de Bergerac”, has died at the age of 89

A prolific writer, Carrière, best known for his work with Luis Bunuel and Milos Forman, created some of the most memorable scenes in European cinema.

Belle de Jour was one of the fruits of his 19-year collaboration with the subversive Spanish director Luis Bunuel, who revelled in shocking audiences.

The pair won an Oscar in 1972 for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, adding to the Oscar Carrière had won in 1963 for best short film.

Fascinated by philosophy and belief

Carrière’s work ranged across cultures, religions and historical periods, from Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) — for which Gérard Depardieu gave one of the performances of his career — to Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) with Daniel Day-Lewis, to writing a book with the Dalai Lama.

Continue reading “France’s ‘finest screenwriter ever’ Jean-Claude Carrière dies aged 89”

38 Movies That Will Transport You to Paris

Musicals, mysteries, and a whole lot of Audrey Hepburn.

Paris has inspired every type of artist over the years, from Impressionist painters to literary giants. But the city perhaps shines the brightest on the big screen, serving as the backdrop to countless movies over the past century. Even before French directors like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut launched a cinematic movement in the 1960s, Hollywood showcased the beauty of Paris in breezy musicals and romances. And since then, we’ve seen the city shine in animated films, white-knuckle thrillers, gritty biopics, and more. Regardless of the genre, one thing’s for sure: The City of Light sure knows how to steal a scene. From Amélie to Ratatouille, here are 35 movies that will transport you to Paris—no plane ticket required

Continue reading “38 Movies That Will Transport You to Paris”

French screen legend Michel Piccoli, who starred in ‘Belle de jour’, dies at 94

Michel Piccoli, one of the most original and versatile French actors of the last half century, has died aged 94, his family said Monday.

He died “in the arms of his wife Ludivine and his children Inord and Missia after a stroke”, the family told AFP.

Piccoli starred in a string of classics that redefined world cinema, from Luis Buñuel’s “Belle de Jour” and “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” to a typically memorable turn opposite Brigitte Bardot in Jean-Luc Godard’s “Le Mépris” (“Contempt”) in 1963.

A masterful performer with a wickedly malicious edge, he managed to carve out a hugely prolific career as both an art house icon and a kind of French Cary Grant.

Like Grant and other Hollywood all-rounders Jimmy Stewart and Gary Cooper, Piccoli was able to adapt himself to virtually any kind of material without altering his essential everyman screen persona.

With his bald forehead, vast eyebrows and sly grin, he hopped easily from seducer to cop to gangster to pope (2011’s “Habemus Papam” by Nanni Moretti), with a predilection in the 1970s and 1980s for ambiguous and cynical roles.

Actor and activist

Yet despite his omnipresence, with Buñuel alone casting him in six of his films, Piccoli never won a French Oscar – the César – despite being nominated four times including for Louis Malle’s “Milou in May” and Jacques Rivette’s “La Belle Noiseuse” in 1991.

He did, however, win best actor at the Cannes film festival in 1980 for playing a tortured Italian judge in Marco Bellocchio’s “A Leap in the Dark” and the following year shared best actor at Berlin for “Une étrange affaire”.

Piccoli was a life-long left-winger who counted the philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre among his friends, but that did not stop him raging against repression in the old Eastern Bloc and supporting the Polish trade union, Solidarity.

One of his best known films outside France was Marco Ferreri’s 1973 “La Grande Bouffe” (Blow-Out), in which a group of male friends shut themselves up in a house with prostitutes and try to eat themselves to death.

“I do not put on an act… I slip away behind my characters. To be an actor, you have to be flexible,” Piccoli said.

Source: French screen legend Michel Piccoli, who starred in ‘Belle de jour’, dies at 94