Obituary Michel Piccoli – The cinema of the Pope, the God was played thanks to Atheist was the late French cinema legend, in over 220 films – spiritual as well as seducer, and sadist.Matthias Lerf6 Kommentare6Eine impressive career in eight different decades: Michel Piccoli, here on a recording from 1992. Photo: Imago/Leemage
One of the last roles of Michel Piccoli, the Pope in Nanni Moretti’s “Habemus Papam” was. He embodied the cardinal will not be elected, but if he’s up to the office. He needs time, flees and continues in a very ordinary Roman Bus, where he simply looks out the window. In this view all have: the heavy burden of the office, but also the joy of the Vatican, a prank to be played. High art of acting, to play almost without.
In about 220 Films Michel Piccoli was already occurred, as he played in 2011, this Church’s head against his will. Who thought now, however, the Interview after the Premiere at the Cannes film festival will be celebrated by him as a film-Pope, as an audience, saw wrong. The then-85-Year-old joked around and mocked, for example, that he a Director, Moretti didn’t want to give the role the same, but him first to the Pope costume was to see him in full glory. And on the question of whether he believed himself to God, he replied: “thank God I’m an Atheist.”
This sentence is not from him, as Piccoli known at the time, but of Luis Buñuel, one of his best teachers. With the Spanish surrealist, he directed classics such as “Belle de jour” (Catherine Deneuve) and “Le Journal d’une femme de chambre” (with Jeanne Moreau). The first collaboration of the two is not so famous – it was a Mexican adventure film called “La mort en ce jardin” (with Simone Signoret). Here, too, embodied Piccoli a spiritual, but still an ordinary priest.
“La mort en ce jardin” (1956) was Michel Piccolis first Film with Luis Buñuel, with which he turned to later masterpieces such as “Belle de jour” (photo).Photo: Corbis () “Le Mépris” (1963) Piccolis first big starring role – on the side of Brigitte Bardot in Jean-Luc Godard’s Swan song to Hollywood.imago images/Everett Collection “La grande bouffe” (1973) With Marco Ferreri, he would provoke people – most of all in this scandal film in which four men to death to eat.imago images/United Archives, “Milou en Mai” (1989) A farewell to Louis Malle on the may of 1968, with Piccoli in one of his most conciliatory roles.imago images/Everett Collection “La belle noiseuse” (1991) Piccoli as the painter, Jane Birkin (photo) as a wife, Emmanuelle Béart as a Model in Jacques Rivette – an act of creation on the movie screen.imago images/Mary Evans “Sous les toits de Paris” (2007) Touching Drama about Dying under the roofs of Paris – a lively performer.imago images/Everett Collection “Habemus Papam” (2011) Nanni Moretti brings Michel Piccoli as a Pope to Rome. He plays him reluctantly, but with Dignity and Verve.imago images/Milestone Media1 / 7
Bunuel was with this Film, the 1956 came out, although not at all satisfied. With his new-found performers already. He wrote: “I’m in “La mort en ce jardin” a man encountered, which was one of my best friends: Michel Piccoli. We have together made five or six films. I like his sense of Humor, his unobtrusive generosity, his gentle madness, and the respect that he brings to me never.”
The generous lack of respect is one of the outstanding features of Michel Piccolis movie career. He turned with the most famous Directors of his time, the French, anyway: One of his first roles he had in the great Jean Renoir “French Cancan” (1954). And one of his very last in Leos Carax in “Holy Motors” (2012). There he just sits in the back of a car. As the Director told his cast members actually undetected and under the Pseudonym of Marcel Tendrolo in the credits are. But a Piccoli appearance, and he was still so short, no one could keep a secret.
“I like the respect that he brings to me never.”
Michel Piccoli was never a Star as Alain Delon or Jean-Paul Belmondo, was able to fill in with his name alone at the box office. The actor was diverse, it was never set to a specific role. He played the stubborn Bourgeois, with the same ease as the sadistic provocateur. The desperate macho artist – in Rivettes “La belle noiseuse” – corresponded to him, as well as the gentle lady friend, he embodied particularly elegant in the work of Claude Sautet at the side of Romy Schneider. With her, he was able to but also quite different: The two played the main role in the very black Comedy “the Trio infernal,” which, in 1974, was a scandal well.
In “Topaz” he also played for Alfred Hitchcock. “Unfortunately, it was not the best Film of the Director”, he repented later. But also as a well-known Star of Piccoli was never too bad, unknown film-makers to give with its name, the opportunity to make a first Film. As a Director, he has realized a short film: It’s called “Train de nuit”, tells the story of a man who is in the Zugsabteil a love story back to life. World premiere he had attended at the film festival of Locarno, the Piccolos several times. And where he received the 2007 Excellence Award.
Piccoli began as a theatre actor
Michel Piccoli came from a musical family, he grew up in Paris as the son of a French piano teacher and an Italian violinist. Early on, he felt from the theatre dressed, with eleven he should have in his first role-played. After the Second world war, he began his career on various Parisian stages.
later on he’s – not often, but like – to the theatre, returned. For example, in a staging by the Swiss Director Luc Bondy. Also Piccolis first wife Eléonore Hirt, with whom he has a daughter, was Swiss. Between 1966 to 1977, he was married with the singer Juliette Gréco. And, since 1980, with the Industrial Ludivine Clerc. She stood by her husband even in the time of the Pope’s interview in Cannes to the side. When he came out of the Chat, she took him lovingly by the Arm. And led him away gently, but determined.
“Every role that I play, makes me younger”
Whether the Pope’s role was not ideal to finish the impressive career, was Piccoli asked before. “Where think you’re?”, he replied, “every role that I play, makes me younger. Particularly, the Pope.”
On 12. May Michel Piccoli, as only now was known, died at the age of 94 years, after a stroke. And you can’t help but imagine how he looks on his last trip out of the window: sublime, modest, authoritative, mischievous – all in one, as only the great actor can.
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