|Born||7 January 1938|
|Died||16 April 1997 59) (aged|
|Occupation||Illustrator, cartoonist, painter, playwright, designer, painter, animator, fiction writer, actor, film and TV script writer|
|Literary movement||Panic Movement|
|Notable works||The Tenant|
Roland Topor (7 January 1938 – 16 April 1997) was a French illustrator, cartoonist, comics artist, painter, novelist, playwright, film and TV writer, filmmaker and actor,who was known for the surreal nature of his work. He was of Polish-Jewish origin. His parents were Jewish refugees from Warsaw. He spent the early years of his life in Savoy, where his family hid him from the Gestapo.
Roland Topor's parents came to France in the 1930s. In 1941 Topor's father, Abram, along with thousands of other Jewish men living in Paris, were required to register with the Vichy authorities. Topor's father was subsequently arrested and interned in a prison camp at Pithiviers, where inmates would be held before being sent to other concentration camps, usually Auschwitz. Of the thousands who were sent to Pithiviers only 159 survived. But Topor's father, Abram, managed to escape from Pithiviers and hide in an area south of Paris.
While his father was in hiding, Topor's landlady would confront the children, Topor and his older sister Hélène d'Almeida-Topor, and try to cajole them into giving away the location of their father. The landlady did not succeed. Then in May 1941 a neighbor tipped off the Topor family that the French police along with the Gestapo were going to search the entire building. So the family fled to Vichy France. In Savoy, four-year-old Roland Topor was placed in a French family, was given a false name, and took on the identity of a Catholic schoolboy.
The family survived, and in 1946 they sued the landlady to have their belongings returned, and to be allowed to resume living in their former apartment. The court ruled in their favor, they returned, and soon were once again paying rent to the landlady who had previously tried to have them apprehended.
The night before he died of a cerebral hemorrhage, it is reported that he couldn't sleep, and instead spent the night visiting Parisian cafes, enjoying Cuban cigars, and drinking Bordeaux wine. When he arrived at the Cafe de Flore, he recounted a nightmarish dream he experienced. It was a dream that he thought might inspire his next novel:
I'm awakened suddenly by a feeling of imminent disaster. Turning down the sheet, I discover a cadaver in my bed, the husk of a man of small stature, but fat, and of an age equal to mine. My first reflex is to jump to the telephone to warn the police. But I hesitate; the presence of this rotting carcass in my bed is embarrassing. Explanations will be demanded of me that I'll be incapable of furnishing. They'll suspect me of a crime that's abominable."
Roland Topor may be best known for his graphic works with their surrealist humor. He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His artworks have appeared in books, newspapers, posters, and film animations.
Few of Topor's writings are available in English. His fictions are sometimes classed as "post-surrealist horror" that go beyond established limits, to portray carnivalesque worlds of bizarre situations, in which human realities that are normally unspoken are laid bare in confrontations with (using Topor's phrase) "le sang, la merde et le sexe" (blood, shit, and sex).
Roland Topor wrote the novel The Tenant (Le Locataire chimérique, 1964), which was adapted to film by Roman Polanski in 1976. The Tenant is the story of a Parisian of Polish descent, who develops an obsession regarding what has happened to his apartment's previous tenant.His 1969 novel Joko's Anniversary is a fable about loss of identity and is a satire on social conformity. Topor returned to these themes in his later novel Head-to-Toe Portrait of Suzanne (1978).
In 1965 David De Silva (Becca Productions Ltd) bought the film rights to The Tenant for $15,000 and sent the novel to Roman Polanski in the hope that he would consider directing it. De Silva made the mistake of phoning Polanski from New York around 7PM which would be just about midnight London time. He received Polanski's response to the project in a letter dated 4 May 1966.Subsequently, De Silva sold the rights to Universal Pictures because Edward Albee wanted to adapt it as his first screenplay under a three-picture deal with Universal but the deal never materialized. Polanski adapted the film 10 years later in 1976. De Silva believes Polanski never read the novel 10 years before. He says, "When the timing is right the timing is right.".
A new presentation of The Tenant by Roland Topor was released in October 2006. The book has Topor's original novel, a new introduction by Thomas Ligotti, a selection of short stories by Topor, a representation of Topor's artwork and an essay on the famous Roman Polanski film version.
Thomas Ligotti's introduction concerns the affirmative themes of world-renowned authors, focusing on Luigi Pirandello, with the negationist themes of Roland Topor's The Tenant.
In 2018, Atlas Press published Topor's Head-to-Toe Portrait of Suzanne, translated and introduced by Andrew Hodgson. It was the first of Topor's novels to enter English in nearly 50 years.
Roland Topor wrote two songs for Megumi Satsu, "Je m'aime" and "Monte dans mon Ambulance".
With René Laloux, Topor made "The Dead Times" (Les Temps morts, 1964), "The Snails" (Les Escargots, 1965) and their most famous work, the feature length La Planète sauvage (1973).
Topor also worked as an actor, his most famous part being Renfield in Werner Herzog's Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979). In the same year, he also performed the surrealistic paralyzed boss in the movie Ratataplan by Maurizio Nichetti.
Topor variously wrote, directed and designed a number of theatre works. Topor's absurd narratives are rife with macabre ironies, scatologies, and cruelties, which seem intended to shock and reframe human interactions to an insane extent. When Topor's play Joko fête son anniversaire was performed in Brussels in 1972, one critic commented, "In some countries, the author would be shot." Topor's play Vinci avait raison (somewhat of a pastiche of J. B. Priestley's 1945 play An Inspector Calls ) is set in a house where no one can escape, the toilets are clogged, and excrement becomes evident on stage. It was performed in Brussels in 1977 and caused a scandal. Critical responses include the suggestion, "We must put this idiot in prison for creating such filth."
His plays include:
Topor published several books of drawings, including Dessins panique (1965) Quatre roses pour Lucienne (1967) and Toporland (1975). Selections from Quatre roses pour Lucienne were reprinted in the English language collection Stories and Drawings (1967). His carefully detailed, realistic style, with elaborate crosshatching, emphasises the fantastic and macabre subject matter of the images.
In 2010, the French publishing company United Dead Artists founded by Stéphane Blanquet published an oversized book "ReBonjour" on the work of Topor.
Raymond Roman Thierry Polański is a French-Polish film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. He is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, two British Academy Film Awards, nine César Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, as well as the Golden Bear and a Palme d'Or.
Stefan Wul was the nom de plume of the French science fiction writer Pierre Pairault, born in Paris.
Fernando Arrabal Terán is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist, and poet. He was born in Melilla and settled in France in 1955. Regarding his nationality, Arrabal describes himself as "desterrado", or "half-expatriate, half-exiled".
Les Maîtres du temps is a 1982 Franco-West German-Swiss-British-Hungarian animated science fiction feature film directed by René Laloux and designed by Mœbius. It is based on the 1958 science fiction novel L'Orphelin de Perdide by Stefan Wul.
René Laloux was a French animator, screenwriter and film director.
Jean Raoul Robert Rochefort was a French actor. He received many accolades during his career, including an Honorary César in 1999.
Louis Garrel is a French actor and filmmaker. He is best known for his starring role in The Dreamers, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. He has regularly appeared in films by French director Christophe Honoré, including Ma Mère, Dans Paris, Love Songs, The Beautiful Person and Making Plans for Lena. He has also been in films directed by his father, Philippe Garrel, including Regular Lovers, Frontier of the Dawn, A Burning Hot Summer, and Jealousy.
Bob Morane is a series of adventure books in French, featuring an eponymous protagonist, created by French-speaking Belgian novelist Henri Vernes, the pseudonym of Charles-Henri Dewisme. More than 200 novels have been written since his introduction in 1953, the iconic covers illustrated by artists such as Pierre Joubert, Henri Lievens, William Vance, Claude Pascal, Antonio Parras, Patrice Sanahujas, Felicísimo Coria and René Follet.
Charles-Henri-Jean Dewisme, better known by his pen name Henri Vernes, was an author of action and science fiction novels. He published over 200 titles in the action and science-fiction genre. He was most noted for the creation of the character Bob Morane, a hero whose adventures spanned fifty years and went from straight adventure and science-fiction to fantasy. Vernes also wrote the text of many comics albums and animated movies.
Louis Fuzelier was a French playwright.
The Tenant is a 1976 psychological horror film set in France but filmed in English and directed by Roman Polanski, starring Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, and Shelley Winters. It is based upon the 1964 novel Le locataire chimérique by Roland Topor and is the last film in Polanski's "Apartment Trilogy", following Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. It was entered into the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. The film had a total of 534,637 admissions in France.
Panic Movement was an art collective formed by Fernando Arrabal, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Roland Topor in Paris in 1962. Inspired by and named after the god Pan, and influenced by Luis Buñuel and Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, the group concentrated on chaotic and surreal performance art, as a response to surrealism becoming mainstream.
The Tenant is a novel by Roland Topor. Originally published in France in 1964, The Tenant is the story of a Parisian of Polish descent, an exploration of alienation and identity, asking questions about how we define ourselves. A film was made after the book by Roman Polanski in 1976.
Panic is a 1946 French film directed by Julien Duvivier starring Michel Simon and Viviane Romance. The screenplay is based on the novel Les Fiançailles de M. Hire by Georges Simenon.
Beaune-la-Rolande internment camp was an internment and transit camp for foreign-born Jews, located in Beaune-la-Rolande in occupied France, it was operational between May 1941 and July 1943, during World War II.
The Tenants may refer to:
The Orphan of Perdide is a novel of science fiction by French author Stefan Wul published in 1958.
The Count of Bragelonne is a 1954 Franco-Italian film directed by Fernando Cerchio. It is a film adaptation of the novel Le Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas père. Its cast included Dawn Addams, Georges Marchal and Jacques Dumesnil.
Roland Lesaffre (1927–2009) was a French film actor. He appeared in many films directed by Marcel Carné.
Der Mieter is an opera after the novel The Tenant by Roland Topor, with music by Arnulf Herrmann composed in 2012 to 2017. The libretto was written by Händl Klaus. Commissioned by the Oper Frankfurt, the opera was first performed there on 12 November 2017, directed by Johannes Erath and conducted by Kazushi Ōno.