Michel Piccoli, 1925-2020 was a rare genius, an actor whose quiet intensity and mature sensuality made him a fixture of French cinema for more than a half-century.

A veteran of the French stage, Mr. Piccoli also had more than 40 feature films and television movies on his resume.

He was in his late 30s when he starred in Jean Luc Godard's acclaimed drama ''Contempt'' [''Le Mepris''] in 1963, playing Brigitte Bardot's unhappy husband., in screenwriter who sells out his talent and losses his wife to an American producer.

The film begins with a bedroom scene between Mr. Piccoli and Ms Bardot, in which his character declares: ''I love you totally, tenderly, tragically.''

More than decades later, the critic Phillip Lopate described this star-making performance as having registered ''with every nuance the defensive cockiness of an intellectual turned hack who feels himself outmanned.

French audiences had largely discovered Mr. Piccoli a year earlier, in ''Le Doulos,'' a gangster film noir in which his character is shot dead. American cineastes came to know him from the films of the great European directors, particularly Luis Bunuel.

His work with Mr. Bunuel included ''Belle de Jour'' [1987], in which Mr. Piccoli played a sinister, lecherous aristocrat who encourages a bored young Catherine Deneuve to go into prostitution and become a gangster's lover by day while remaining the prim housewife of a handsome young  physician by night.

Mr. Piccoli also collaborated Mr. Bunuel on '' Diary of a Chambermaid '' [1964], ''The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise'' [1972] and ''The Phantom of Liberty'' [1974].

Across his long career, he worked with directors like Claude Chabrol, Jacques Demy, Costa-Gavras, Alain Resnais, Agnes Varda ''La Grande Bouffe'' [1973] [''The Big Feast''], directed by Marco Ferrari, was probably one one of Mr. Piccoli's best known films to American moviegoers.

The movie was a satire about four men determined to eat themselves to death during an orgiastic villa weekend.

In addition to Ms. Bardot, and Ms. Denuve, Mr. Piccoli's list of co-stars included Anouk Aimee, Stephane Audran, Leslie Caron, Jeanne Moreau, Natasha Parry, Dominique Sands and Romy Schneider.

He occasionally appeared in American films, albeit in projects in which played characters with  French accents. 

He was a Soviet spy in France who commits suicides in Alfred Hitchcock's ''Topaz'' [1969], and an opera loving crouplex in Louis Malle's ''Atlantic City'' [1980].

''The urbane Michael Piccoli appears in a tiny role that he turns into a memorable cameo, that of a casino manager who, on the side, runs the croupler school,'' Vincent Canby wrote in his review in The New York Times.

The honor and serving of this great publishing, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Anita Gates.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!