Jacques Perrin, the French idol who moved the world in Cinema Paradiso, has died

Jacques Perrin, the French idol who moved the world in Cinema Paradiso, has died

It’s impossible not to be moved every time you see the final scene of Cinema Paradiso (1988), one in which the mature Salvatore Di Vita finds the emotional memory of his childhood when he finds himself in front of a big screen with the memory of the old projector that would mark his destiny. The actor who played this adult Totó with the cachet of a leading man in Giuseppe Tornatore’s film is Jacques Perrin, hero of French cinema who has just died at the age of 80, in his native Paris.

Perrin lacked nothing in the cinema. He shone as an actor in nearly 70 films that made him one of the great faces of the European screen from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, and he broadened his artistic horizons from first as a producer and then as an expert documentary filmmaker.engaged on issues dedicated to ecology and the disclosure of extraordinary events from nature.

Perrin in 1997 with the prize for best production which he won with the documentary MicrocosmosJacques DEMARTHON – AFP

Son of an outstanding director of the Comédie Française, Perrin (born Jacques André Simonet, July 13, 1941) assumed the family vocation almost from the cradle and began to exercise it from childhood as an actor. He was 20 years old when the world saw for the first time on the screen this boy with blond hair and delicate features, capable of both hiding some secret and a certain darkness in an expression that could easily become melancholic or concentrated. He was the young idol who transmitted all the intensity of youthful love with Claudia Cardinale in The suitcase girlan award-winning film by Valerio Zurlini which also marked the beginning of a long and happy relationship with Italian cinema for Perrin.

He will soon return to Italy under the orders of Zurlini in Two brothers, two destinations, and other renowned directors such as Mauro Bolognini, Florestano Vancini and Silvio Amadio. It was Italian tooA uomo to metaby Vittorio de Seta), the production which earned him his first major prize, the Volpi Cup for best actor at the 1966 Venice Film Festival, shared with the Spaniards The research.

Perrin in Marseilles during the shooting of a film in 1984
Perrin in Marseilles during the shooting of a film in 1984 PIERRE CIOT – AFP

In France, it did not take him long to impose his beauty and his great artistic personality since he performed, actor and singer, in the formidable The ladies of Rochefort, by Jacques Demy, accompanied by Catherine Deneuve, a duo he will find in donkey skin. He was able to shine in romantic drama, in period film and also in the story of greater political engagement, a very strong trend at the time.. He faced this last facet alongside Costa-Gavras, one of his favorite directors. acted in Crime in the sleeping car Yes where there is a man before pretending to be a photographer Zsummit of the cinema testimony of the time.

In this film, Perrin discovers that he can also shine as a producer and once again accompanies his friend Costa-Gavras in Site status Yes special partin addition to other notable titles such as black and white color Yes the tartar desert (still with Zurlini as director and in the title role). Until little by little he began to be obsessed with a new idea: in his own words, “showing the diversity of nature, celebrating it and making people aware of its protection”.

Perrin and Brigitte Fossey in the expanded version of Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
Perrin and Brigitte Fossey in the expanded version of Cinema Paradiso directed by Giuseppe TornatoreLUCA DIAMONTE – MIRAMAX FILMS

that’s how they got there microcosm (with a magnifying glass on the world of insects), Touch the sky (fascinating observation of the phenomenon of bird migration around the planet) and oceansone of the most ambitious and accomplished documentaries about life in the deep, made exactly half a century after the iconic the silent worldfirst major work by Jacques Cousteau.

Later, between 2004 and 2008, Perrin produced two films directed by his nephew Christophe Barratier, Showgirls Yes the paris song. The premiere was the last appearance as an actor we met in Argentina. The film’s prologue is almost a tribute to Cinema Paradiso, because he embodies a man who receives the news of the death of the one who trained him as a child and gave him the tools that allowed him to succeed in life. In this gesture is defined the life of Perrin, a winning personality in all facets of cinema, who in his best creations has always managed to move us.

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