Alain Cuny

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Alain Cuny
Alain Cuny-130822-0001FP.jpg
Alain Cuny, Paris, 1979
Born
René Xavier Marie Alain Cuny

(1908-07-12)12 July 1908
Died16 May 1994(1994-05-16) (aged 85)
Paris, France
Resting placeCivry-la-Forêt
OccupationActor
Years active1941-1994

Alain Cuny (12 July 1908 16 May 1994) was a French actor in theatre and cinema.

Contents

Biography

René Xavier Marie Alain Cuny was born in Saint-Malo, Brittany. [1] He developed an early interest in painting and from the age of 15 he attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He met Picasso, Braque and members of the surrealist group. [2]

Saint-Malo Subprefecture and commune in Brittany, France

Saint-Malo is a historic French port in Brittany on the Channel coast.

Brittany Historical province in France

Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown.

École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts National School of Fine Arts in Paris, France

The École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA) is a fine arts grand school of PSL Research University in Paris, France.

He then began working in the film industry as a costume, poster and set designer and was employed on films of Cavalcanti, Feyder and Renoir. After a meeting with the actor-manager Charles Dullin, Cuny was persuaded to study drama and he began acting on stage in the late 1930s. [3]

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Jean Renoir French film director and screenwriter

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In the theatre, Cuny became particularly linked with the works of Paul Claudel (who said of him after a performance of L'Annonce faite à Marie in 1944, "I have been waiting for you 20 years"). [4] Another literary friend and hero was Antonin Artaud, "whose texts he read with supreme conviction at a time when Artaud was more or less an outcast, a situation reflected in Artaud's Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society, [5] which Cuny interpreted in his voice's fabulous organ tones". [4] Later Cuny worked with Jean Vilar at the Théâtre national populaire, and with Jean-Louis Barrault at the Odéon-Théâtre de France. [6] His dramatic presence and measured diction made him well-suited to many classical roles. [7]

Paul Claudel French diplomat, poet and playwright

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His first major role in the cinema was as one of the devil's envoys in Marcel Carné's film Les Visiteurs du soir (1942). A few other romantic leading parts followed, but increasingly he appeared in supporting roles, especially in characterizations of intellectuals such as the tormented philosopher Steiner in La Dolce Vita (1960), directed by Federico Fellini. He worked frequently in Italian cinema and had close associations with Michelangelo Antonioni and Francesco Rosi as well as Fellini. One of his most admired film performances was in Rosi's Uomini contro (Many Wars Ago, 1970), as the rigidly authoritarian General Leone. [7]

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Among his French films were The Lovers (Les Amants, 1958), directed by Louis Malle, and Jean-Luc Godard's Détective (1985). He also appeared in the softcore porn film Emmanuelle (1974), a role which he said he took to show his contempt for the film business. [8] In the same year, he played Sitting Bull in the absurdist western Ne touchez pas à la femme blanche! (Don't Touch the White Woman!, 1974).

<i>The Lovers</i> (1958 film) 1958 film by Louis Malle

The Lovers is a 1958 French drama film directed by Louis Malle which stars Jeanne Moreau, Alain Cuny, and Jean-Marc Bory. Based on the novel Point de Lendemain by Dominique Vivant, the film concerns a woman involved in adultery who rediscovers human love. The Lovers was Malle's second feature film, made when he was 25 years old. The film was a box-office hit in France when released theatrically gaining 2,594,160 admissions in France alone. The film was highly controversial when released in the United States for its depiction of allegedly obscene material. At the 1958 Venice Film Festival, the film won the Special Jury Prize and was nominated for the Golden Lion.

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Jean-Luc Godard French-Swiss film director, screenwriter and film critic

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Towards the end of his career he returned to aspects of Claudel. He appeared in Camille Claudel (1988), a biographical film about the author's sister in which he played their father, Louis-Prosper Claudel. In 1991 he completed a long-planned film adaptation of a Claudel play The Annunciation of Marie (L'Annonce faite à Marie, 1991), a French-Canadian production in which he both directed and acted; it won him the Prix Georges-Sadoul. [6] He also gave regular readings of Claudel's work at the Festival d'Avignon. [2]

<i>Camille Claudel</i> (film) 1988 film by Bruno Nuytten

Camille Claudel is a 1988 French film about the life of the 19th century sculptor Camille Claudel. The movie was based on the book by Reine-Marie Paris, granddaughter of Camille's brother, the poet and diplomat Paul Claudel. It was directed by Bruno Nuytten, co-produced by Isabelle Adjani, and starred her and Gérard Depardieu. The film had a total of 2,717,136 admissions in France. Adjani earned a nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress for her role, the second time in her career she was so honored and the first time a French actress was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar twice.

<i>The Annunciation of Marie</i> 1991 film by Alain Cuny

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Georges Sadoul French journalist

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Alain Cuny died in 1994 in Paris. He is buried in Civry-la-Forêt, west of Paris, where he had lived. [1]

Selected filmography

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References

  1. 1 2 Alain Cuny Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine , at L'Encinémathèque. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Alain Cuny", Ciné-Ressources; retrieved 22 January 2016.
  3. Ephraim Katz. The International Film Encyclopedia. London: Macmillan, 1980. p. 292.
  4. 1 2 James Kirkup. "Obituary: Alain Cuny", in The Independent, 18 May 1994. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  5. Antonin Artaud. Artaud Anthology, edited and translated by Jack Hirschman. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1986. pp. 135–163. ISBN   978-0-87286-000-1.
  6. 1 2 Dictionnaire du cinéma populaire français; sous la direction de Christian-Marc Bosséno et Yannick Dehée. (Paris: Nouveau Monde, 2004). p. 243.
  7. 1 2 Dictionnaire du cinéma français: sous la direction de Jean-Loup Passek. (Paris: Larousse, 1987). p. 97.
  8. Olivier Germain-Thomas: Agora:"les aventuriers de l'esprit". Besançon: La Manufacture, 1991. p. 209: "J'ai joué dans Emmanuelle pour me débarrasser de l'estime des gens que je n'estimais pas."