Narrative“Trintignant, complex actor” (1/6). In the early 1960s, the 30-year-old, who had already acted in about fifteen films, dragged his lack of self-confidence. It was at the chance of the last minute replacement of Jacques Perrin in “Le Fanfaron”, a masterpiece by the Italian Dino Risi, that the young man took off.
On August 12, 1962, the Italian filmmaker Dino Risi had Jean-Louis Trintignant come in disaster from Paris to Rome, as an emergency doctor is called, in order to play one of the two main roles of the swagger. When he gets on the plane, the French actor is 31 years old and he is almost nobody. But in the afternoon, on the soil of the Italian capital, he tells himself that he can become someone. However, he has already shot in fifteen films in seven years, including And God created the woman (1956), with Bardot. His problem ? Her size. He is 1.72 meters tall. He is convinced that she is a handicap. We tell him. But for the first time, she becomes an asset.
He did not imagine for a second that this masterpiece (released in France in June 1963), in which he was not supposed to play, was going to propel him into another dimension. Towards a phenomenal career. On his death, on June 17, 2022, at the age of 91, the tributes prominently quote his interpretation in the film by Dino Risi. Before saluting a career stretched over sixty-five years, with no less than one hundred and twenty-two films and around forty plays or poetry readings. What is particularly striking is the almost unique density of his roles, up to Lovethe film by Michael Haneke, in 2012, which he shot at over 80 years old and which triumphed at the Cannes Film Festival. In his generation, born in the first half of the 1930s, there is Delon, Belmondo, and him.
Trintignant is very far from all that when he finds himself, around August 15, 1962, in a Rome emptied of its inhabitants, in a suspended time, a sort of truce between two battles. And Dino Risi does not know that his swaggerwith nearly six million admissions in Italy, will establish him as the master of Italian comedy.
The filmmaker wants to shoot in the summer, when Italy is just a setting where everything becomes possible. Even when the scenario is not obvious at first glance: a professional schemer named Bruno Cortona, a boaster and flirty, living on his own devices, embarks in his convertible a stranger by the name of Roberto Mariani, a law student, shy and secret lover of a neighbor, to go have a drink at Livorno, five hours from Rome. Risi has long since found his Cortona, in the person of Vittorio Gassman, an actor with whom he shares the same exuberant personality and the same pronounced taste for women.
For Mariani, it’s a different story. Risi hired Frenchman Jacques Perrin (1941-2022). Bizarre, a Frenchman, for an Italian character through and through. But, at the time, co-productions between the two countries intensified. And then, who knows why, Italian directors tend to think that good actors can only be French. Since the beginning of the 1960s, the Roman studios of Cinecitta have seen Alain Delon land in Rocco and his brothers (1960), by Luchino Visconti, and Jean-Paul Belmondo in The Viaccia (1961), by Mauro Bolognini, and La Ciociara (1960), by Vittorio De Sica, but also Gérard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Jacques Charrier, Jean Sorel, Laurent Terzieff…
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