Jacques Perrin, committed actor and producer
His last appearance as an actor was a few weeks ago. In Goliathof Frédéric Tellier, he embodied a scientist ex-employee of the chemical industry who denounces the misdeeds of pesticides. A role that corresponded well to the man and the committed producer that he always was. Jacques Perrin, who “passed away peacefully »according to his family, last Thursday at the age of 80, was not only this angelic face of the films of Jacques Demy or this tortured lieutenant of the Drum Crab by Pierre Schoendoerffer.
→ THE FACTS. Death of Jacques Perrin, actor and producer
He had fought very early to defend an independent production, and more recently, through his animal documentaries, for the respect of the environment. He did it his way, with a quiet stubbornness that matched his temperament. It had earned him to be inducted into the Academy of Fine Arts in 2019, welcomed by his friend Jean-Jacques Annaud, whom he had helped produce in 1976 Victory singing.
From France to Italy
It is however as a young first that the actor, born on July 13, 1941, started in the cinema. Trained at the Conservatory, this child of the ball – father manager at the Comédie-Française, mother actress – quickly abandoned the boards for the screen. First in small roles with Marcel Carné and Henri-Georges Clouzot, then in Italy, where Valerio Zurlini puts him in the foreground alongside Claudia Cardinale in The girl with the suitcase (1961) then in Personal diary (1962) with Marcello Mastroianni.
→ MAINTENANCE. Jacques Perrin: “The wolves jumped and the horses kicked”
He will shoot there for a few years, obtaining an interpretation prize at the Venice Film Festival for A half man, by Vittorio De Seta, in 1966. But it’s Maxence, the sailor in love with Ladies of Rochefort, then the prince of Donkey Skinwhich, in France, will mark the spirits, offering an ethereal image very far from him.
“Z” of Costa-Gavras
Meanwhile, Jacques Perrin toured with Pierre Schoendoerffer in The 317th Platoon and Costa-Gavras in compartment killers and works alongside these directors, who, in these times of political ferment, do not hesitate to dig up the corpses of colonial wars or to denounce oppression. It is to finance Z of Costa-Gavras that he became a producer, at only 27 years old. He will produce most of his following films, as well as The Tartar Desert by Valerio Zurlini (1976) then The Roaring Forties by Christian de Chalonge (1982), huge business failure.
He then turned to television, the cinema no longer offering him roles to his measure. At the same time, with his company Galatea Films, this sea and nature enthusiast began to produce animal documentaries. Microcosmos, The migrating people then oceanswhich he co-directed and which earned him the César for best documentary in 2011.
→ REREAD. “Oceans”, vision of a people in depth
With their ingenious inventions allowing spectacular shots, these films are the first of their kind to reach the general public and to be used as a weapon to raise awareness of the beauty of the wild and the degradation of the marine environment. Jacques Perrin, a passionate defender of documentaries on his television program “La 25e Heure”, had thus found another way to fight against the indifference of the world.