Cinema Jean-Louis Trintignant: the innovative actor with the velvet voice
2019-09-02 17:52:03 TV5MONDE

Propelled to the rank of international star by launching the mythical Brigitte Bardot in Et Dieu créa la Femme then making the public dance to "Chabadabada" in Un Homme et une Femme, Jean-Louis Trintignant is established as one of the most talented actors  of his generation. With a career spanning more than 60 years, he continues to thrill cinema audiences' at the age of 88.



Discovery of a calling and first success  

Jean-Louis Trintignant grew up in the south of France, dreaming of becoming a race car driver like his uncles Louis and Maurice Trintignant. In 1949, law student in Aix-en-Provence, nothing stood out for him to become an actor. However, the day of his 18th Birthday, he attended a play that affects him deeply L'Avare  by Molière directed by Charles Dullin. Trintignant, then very shy, decides to give up his studies to follow Charles Dullin to Paris and to learn theatre at his side. Two years later, the future actor made his debut on stage and quickly gained notice.

It was in 1955 that he made his first appearance at the cinema in Christian-Jaque's "Si Tous Guys du Monde" before achieving a success that transcended French borders a year later in Et Dieu créa la Femme by Roger Vadim. The ink runs dry in the European newspapers, as Brigitte Bardot then in a relationship with the director, leaves him for Jean-Louis Trintignant. The film is scandalous, and the myth of BB is launched.

Absent from cinema screens until 1961, the new star performs his military service and will be mobilized to fight in Algeria. Years that will mark him deeply.


The most beautiful years of a life 

He made his comeback by winning his first major role in a film Le combat de l'île d'Alain Cavalier. He married director Nadine Marquand the same year and shot many of his films. They go on to have three children together: Marie, Pauline, who died at just 9 months old and Vincent.

Jean-Louis Trintignant returned to international success in 1966 with a new seductive role in Claude Lelouch's Un Homme et une Femme. The film goes around the world collecting all awards in its path including the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for best foreign language film and the best original screenplay. The film and its famous music had a sequel twenty years later, and even a third installment in 2019 with Les plus belles années d'une vie while the actors are close to ... 90 years old!

The end of the 60's is marked by the first individual actor awards. Trintignant receives the Silver Bear for the best actor at the Berlinale in 1968 for his role in l'Homme qui ment d'Alain Robbe-Grillet and the Prix de Interpretation Masculine of the Cannes Film Festival in Z by Costa-Gravas the next year.

In 1970, he played what he considered to be his best role in  Le Conformiste by Bernardo Bertolucci. He plays  a man persuaded to have committed a murder and returns to the ranks of fascist Italy to redeem himself.

Passionate about theatre, Jean-Louis Trintignant tries directing by following in the footsteps of the man who revealed his love for comedy. He will stage a play in 1973 and a second and last in 1979. But he prefers to be in front of the audience or camera, especially with his daughter Marie Trintignant who will become his de facto partner, in theatre or in film in the movies of his wife.



A gradual withdrawal from the limelight

Trintignant is the star of many films in the early 80s, including Eaux Profondes by Michel Deville, with Isabelle Huppert. But these years will be marked especially by a progressive withdrawal of the actor of the world from the cinema. He wants to refocus and thrive in car racing. He will participate in the  Monte Carlo Rally with his partner, Marianne Hoepfner, who will become later his wife. He will also try endurance racing successfully, after having to give up the Le Mans 24h, he will rank 2nd in the 24h of Spa-Francorchamps.

At age 50, the actor retired to the countryside in the south of France, bought a vineyard and became a wine producer. He says he is tired of cinema and refuses several projects. He will return to the big screen in Trois couleurs : Rouge de Krzysztof Kieślowski. A return quickly noticed since it will be nominated for the César of the best actor alongside Gérard Depardieu and Jean Reno.

Returning to the theatre in the early 2000s, Jean-Louis Trintignant shares his passion for poetry with his daughter Marie by reading Apollinaire's verses on stage. Then tragedy occurs, Marie dies - murdered by her husband. Trintignant later admitted that he never recovers from the brutal death of his daughter.

Requested personally by Michael Haneke to play in Amour in 2012, he accepts the role 10 years after his last appearance at the cinema alongside his daughter. Reluctant to shoot a new film, the actor accepts after being fascinated by the work of the director in Caché. The film was a great success, being awarded among others by the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the César for Best Film and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Normally, the Palme always returns only to the director, but Jean-Louis Trintignant was considered by the Jury as one of the main craftsmen of this victory.

In 2019, at the age of 88, Trintignant's acting continues to impress us. It is the stand out of Plus belles années d’une vie de Claude Lelouch  the third part of Un homme et une femme, 50 years after the release of the first film.



Top 10 Jean-Louis Trintignant films


  • Z by Costa-Gavras with Yves Montand, Irène Papas and Jean-Louis Trintignant
  • Amour by Michael Haneke with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert
  • Un homme et une femme by Claude Lelouch with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée
  • Le Fanfaron by Dino Risi wth Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Catherine Spaak
  • Le Mouton enragé by Michel Deville with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Romy Schneider
  • Le train by Pierre Granier-Deferre with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Romy Schneider and Maurice Biraud
  • Ma nuit chez Maud by Eric Rohmer with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Françoise Fabian and Marie-Christine Barrault
  • Vivement dimanche ! by François Truffaut with Fanny Ardant, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Jean-Pierre Kalfon
  • Le conformiste by Bernardo Bertolucci with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli and Dominique Sanda
  • Et Dieu… créa la femme by Roger Vadim with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Brigitte Bardot



2017 - Nominated at the European Film Awards Best Actor in: Happy End
2013 César for Best Actor in : Amour
Award Etoile d'Or de la presse du cinéma français du 1er Rôle masculin in : Amour
Nominated at the Golden Gloves for Best Actor in : Amour
Award for Best Actor in Lumières de la presse étrangère in : Amour
2012 European Film Award for Best actor in : Amour
1999 Nominmated César for Best Actor in a supporting role in : Ceux qui m'aiment prendront le train
1996 Nominated for César for Best Actor in : Fiesta
1995 Nominated for César  for Best Actor in : Trois couleurs - Rouge
1987 Nominated for César for Best Actor in a supporting role in : La Femme de ma vie
1969 Awarded Best Male role at the Festival de Cannes in : Z
1968 Awarded Golden Bear for Best Actor at the Berlinale in : L'Homme qui ment



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