The great Jean-Louis Trintignant, 91, has left the earth. In my mind he was the most deeply French actor alive for so many decades, even going back to the ’50s. That unaffected, un-acted manner, that deepish voice and handsome face, that air of casual unpretentiousness. He was a marquee name for seven decades, but mostly in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
The cancer-stricken Trintignant announced his retirement from acting four years ago.
My favorite Trintignant performances are probably the same as everyone else’s. My three all-time faves are Marcello, the snivelling coward, in Bernardo Bertolucci‘s The Conformist (’70); the tough, low-key prosecutor in Costa-Gavras‘ Z (’69); and the elderly, quietly suffering husband in Michael Haneke‘s Amour (’12).
My fourth favorite is his vaguely Humphrey Bogart-like Cote d’Azur detective in Without Apparent Motive (’71), which was based on a 1963 Ed McBain novel.
I also loved his protagonists in Roger Vadim‘s And God Created Woman and Les liaisons dangereuses, “Éric Grandin” in Costa-Gavras‘ The Sleeping Car Murders, the race-car-driving smoothie in Claude Lelouch‘s A Man and a Woman, the Trintignant guy in Ettore Scola‘s La Terrazza and Roger Spottiswode‘s Under Fire (’83)
His last great performance was as the horrified, overwhelmed and finally resigned-to-fate Georges in Amour.
RIP Jean-Louis Trintignant (1930–2022). For an actor who excelled above all at communicating moral ambiguity and internal disquiet, he had one hell of a smile. In Ma Nuit Chez Maud, dir. Eric Rohmer, 1969: pic.twitter.com/8w99ZNIPDh
— Dana Stevens (@thehighsign) June 17, 2022