Michel Piccoli, the renowned French actor who seemed to costar in almost every noteworthy French film in the mid to late 20th Century, has passed at age 94. I’ve been trying to decide which Piccoli performance is my favorite, and I honestly can’t decide. Okay, maybe his weary, blocked painter in Jacques Rivette‘s La Belle Noiseuse (’91).
He was always a reliable, trustworthy presence. An actor who always seemed to calm things down. Always plainspoken, genuine, discreet.
And the late ’60s and ’70s, it seemed to me, was his peak era, although he kept going as a working actor through the next three succeeding decades. One of his last theatrical films, Lines of Wellington, opened in 2012.
Among Piccoli’s best films: Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt, Alfred Hitchcock‘s Topaz (’69), Louis Malle‘s Atlantic City, Luis Buñuel‘s Diary of a Chambermaid (’64), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (’72) and The Phantom of Liberty (’74), Claude Chabrol‘s Wedding in Blood (’73), Claude Sautet‘s Vincent, François, Paul and the Others (’74), Marco Ferreri‘s La Grand Bouffe (’73), Leos Carax‘s Holy Motors (’12).