Homage to Jean-Pierre Bacri

Homage to Jean-Pierre Bacri - © Philippe Quaisse/UniFrance

Serge Toubiana, president of UniFrance, pays homage to the actor and screenwriter Jean-Pierre Bacri, who died on January 18, 2021 at the age of 69.

"We are devastated to learn of the death of Jean-Pierre Bacri. Born in 1951, this actor and author  mapped out a singular path in French cinema, with an original panache oscillating between comedy and disillusionment, laughter and a what's-the-point nonchalance. Jean-Pierre Bacri could raise his eyebrows like no one else, always seeming to say in a poetic way: 'You can't fool me!'
He possessed this particular art and he performed it delicately, skillfully, with irony and tenderness, taking pleasure in giving himself the role of the awkward customer: the guy who sulks. And, seen from abroad, this character trait brought him closer to the image of the grumpy but generous Frenchman, unshaven but charming. The audience liked his face, his hangdog look, his gentle melancholy, his disenchanted humor, his beautiful lucidity about life and people. Was this part of the art of acting, or was it a part of his intimate, personal truth that he etched on the screen? Only he knows.

He had begun a slowly rising career in the late 1970s, with appearances or supporting roles in a large number of films and TV movies, from the Grand Pardon (Alexandre Arcady) to Entre nous (Diane Kurys), from Edith et Marcel (Claude Lelouch) to Grand Carnaval (Arcady again), Subway (Luc Besson), Staircase C (Jean-Charles Tacchella), and Moods (Jacques Fansten). More visible roles followed in My Best Pals by Jean-Marie Poiré, and the films he cowrote with Agnès Jaoui, the beginning of an enduring artistic companionship, recognized by critics and French and international audiences alike: Full House in 1993, It Takes All Kinds in 2000, Look at Me in 2004, Let It Rain in 2008, Under the Rainbow in 2013, and Place publique in 2018. The duo successfully collaborated with Alain Resnais, first by adapting the English author Alan Ayckbourn for Smoking/No Smoking in 1993, then with Same Old Song in 1997, finding ingenious and fertile common ground with a filmmaker unjustly reputed to be cerebral.

Jean-Pierre Bacri was also directed by others, among whom Nicole Garcia (Charlie Says...), Noémie Lvovsky (Feelings), Pascal Bonitzer (Looking for Hortense and Right Here Right Now), Cédric Klapisch (Family Resemblances). He was the lead actor in Sens de la fête by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, a popular success in which he was a natural fit for the role of the grouchy, desperate, and tender coordinator of a troupe of no-hopers.

He was both an actor and a character, and the audience loved him. Probably because he conveyed that 'it takes all kinds'..."

Serge Toubiana

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