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And God Created Jean-Louis Trintignant

March 2, 2013 - April 21, 2013


In the wake of the accolades bestowed on Jean-Louis Trintignant for his outstanding performance in Michael Haneke’s Amour (2012), we showcase Trintignant’s work as a film actor. Often compared to his male cohort of the late fifties and sixties, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, and Marcello Mastroianni, Trintignant embodies a particular type of Euro cool, both shy and furtive.

Born in 1930, Trintignant spent his childhood in the south of France until the age of twenty, when he moved to Paris to pursue acting. Over the decades, he has enjoyed a prolific career appearing on stage and screen. His breakthrough film was Roger Vadim’s 1956 …And God Created Woman, which was accompanied by his real-life scandalous affair with costar Brigitte Bardot. He is well known for both his romantic leads—Claude Lelouch’s A Man and A Woman and Eric Rohmer’s My Night at Maud’s— and for political thrillers, including Alain Cavalier’s Le combat dans l’île; Costa-Gavras’s Z; and Bernardo Bertolucci’s psychological study set in the fascist era, The Conformist. Bertolucci remarked on his reason for casting him in The Conformist, “I chose Trintignant because when I think of him two adjectives immediately come to mind: moving and sinister.”

This series offers a rare chance to see imported 35mm prints of Valerio Zurlini’s melodrama Violent Summer, with Trintignant in his most romantic role, Dino Risi’s hilarious road comedy Il sorpasso, and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s innovative Trans-Europ-Express. Join us for this look back at Trintignant – the man with a killer smile, stone-faced stare, and extraordinary ability to emote melancholy.

Susan Oxtoby, Senior Film Curator

Saturday, March 2, 2013
6:30 p.m. …And God Created Woman
Roger Vadim (France, 1956). Imported 35mm Print! One of the most famous French films of the 1950s stars Brigitte Bardot as a blonde, sexually restless eighteen-year-old who gets entangled with an older brother/younger brother pair (Christian Marquand and Jean-Louis Trintignant). 
(91 mins)

Saturday, March 9, 2013
6:30 p.m. Violent Summer
Valerio Zurlini (Italy/France, 1959). Imported 35mm Print! Set in 1943, the year that saw the fall of Mussolini and the start of the civil war between fascists and antifascists, Violent Summer features Trintignant, at his most handsome, as a fasco-brat who meets a patrician widow. (100 mins)

Thursday, March 28, 2013
7:00 p.m. Il sorpasso
Dino Risi (Italy, 1962). Imported 35mm Print! Il sorpasso is a pungent, satiric view of the economic boom of the late fifties and early sixties. Vittorio Gassman plays a seasoned playboy who tutors a reluctant student (Jean-Louis Trintignant) in the ways of the world. (105 mins)

Thursday, March 28, 2013
9:00 p.m. Le combat dans l’île
Alain Cavalier (France, 1962). Cavalier’s first feature embeds the political tensions of early-sixties France in a New Wave love triangle, with Anne (Romy Schneider) and Clément (Jean-Louis Trintignant) as an almost a model bourgeois couple—except for Clément’s jealous rages, and the fact that he is a right-wing extremist. (104 mins)

Friday, March 29, 2013
8:45 p.m. My Night at Maud’s
Eric Rohmer (France, 1969). Imported 35mm Print! Language and philosophy form the centerpieces of seduction in Rohmer’s elegant tale, involving a young Catholic (Jean-Louis Trintignant) holed up during a winter storm with the witty, seemingly irresistible divorcée, Maud. (105 mins)

Saturday, March 30, 2013
6:00 p.m. A Man and a Woman
Claude Lelouch (France, 1966). New Restored 35mm Print! Winner of both the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, A Man and a Woman boasts two of France’s biggest stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant and the supernal Anouk Aimée, whose characters are both recovering from tragic loss. (102 mins)

Friday, April 5, 2013
9:05 p.m. The Outside Man
Jacques Deray (France, 1973). In Jacques Deray’s masterpiece, Jean-Louis Trintignant plays a hit man dispatched from Paris to Los Angeles to assassinate the local mob boss, but his employers have set him up to be hit by “inside man” Roy Scheider. Also starring Angie Dickinson. (110 mins)

Friday, April 12, 2013
8:40 p.m. Z
Costa-Gavras (France/Algeria, 1969). Yves Montand, Irene Papas, and Jean-Louis Trintignant star in a true classic of political suspense, made by exiles including Greek director Costa-Gavras. (125 mins)

Thursday, April 18, 2013
7:00 p.m. The Conformist
Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy, 1970). Jean-Louis Trintignant is a suave intellectual who has risen through the ranks of Mussolini’s fascist government, a conformist who now faces his ultimate orders: to assassinate his former mentor, an antifascist professor. “A great film, drunkenly beautiful and deeply disturbing” (David Thomson). (116 mins)

Friday, April 19, 2013
7:00 p.m. Three Colors: Red
Krzysztof Kieślowski (Switzerland/France/Poland, 1994). Imported 35mm Print! A chance encounter brings together two solitary individuals—a model (Irène Jacob) and a retired judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant)—in Kieslowski's meditation on the need for "fraternity." (99 mins)

Sunday, April 21, 2013
3:00 p.m. Trans-Europ-Express
Alain Robbe-Grillet (France, 1968). Imported 35mm Print! A film crew boards a train to Antwerp and impulsively decides to cast a fellow passenger (Jean-Louis Trintignant) as a drug runner, with strange, sexual, and fetishistic results. “As challenging and influential again today as it was in the 1960s” (Senses of Cinema). (105 mins)

Thanks to the following for their assistance with this retrospective: Bruce Goldstein, Film Forum; Institut Français; Delphine Alvarez-Selles, French Cultural Services, New York; Denis Bisson, French Consulate San Francisco; Rosaria Folcarelli; Cinecittà Luce; Istituto Italiano di Cultura; May Haduong, Academy Film Archive; Claude Lelouch, Les Films 13; James Quandt and Brad Deane, TIFF Cinematheque; Andrea Kalas, Paramount Pictures; Chris Chouinard, Park Circus; Eric Di Bernardo, Rialto Pictures; and Jake Perlin, The Film Desk.