Friday, October 14, 2016

Death of Pierre Etaix, a clown and a genius well known to the French film – AlloCiné

Death of Pierre Etaix, a clown and a genius well known to the French cinema

By The Beginning of’ ▪ Friday, October 14, 2016 – there is 1 hour and 21 minutes

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The actor and French filmmaker Pierre Etaix died on Friday, October 14. The fans of him must of the pearls of the absurd and poetic as “Yoyo” and “The Great love”.

Burlesque, melancholic, quirky… Pierre Etaix was one of the last poets of the French cinema. Author of a handful of films in the irresistible charm, the artist died on Friday, October 14, at the age of 87 years.

Pierre Étaix was born in 1928 in Roanne. From his young age, he draws with such talent and already his imagination, the fact out of the lot. After having spent his childhood in his Loire valley birthplace and have worked for a master glassmaker in Italy, he discovers the world of comedy and emigrated to the capital as soon as he has the opportunity, to immerse herself body and soul into his passion. If it first makes its guns in the music hall with numbers comedy where he puts up his style, then at the circus with the clown Nino, it is still mostly thanks to the artwork that he earns his living.

Keaton and Chaplin

soon Enough, his admiration for Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin, among others, helps to define his artistic identity and he becomes a specialist in the art of comedy from the slapstick, which he will be the champion and the only representative of contemporary in the Hexagon. It is a kind of humor involving a part of physical violence deliberately exaggerated, initiated by Mack Sennett and popularized by the american slapstick cinema in the years 20 and 30.

The shock Tati

the encounter is crucial with Jacques Tati in 1954 which allows truly to Pierre Etaix to launch his career: for four years, he has worked at his side as a cartoonist and gagman in the preparation of his film ” My uncle, and then as an assistant director on the shoot. The young man happens even with its number of music-hall, some time later, in the spectacle of Tati, a Day of celebration at the Olympia. His meeting with the 7th art is only starting and he was introduced to the realization of the best ways, his first two short films, Rupture (1961) and Happy Anniversary (1962), on seeing any two objects of prestigious awards, the Fipresci prize for the first and the Oscar in Hollywood for the second. The two films were made in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carrière, whose meeting, a few years previously, proves to be decisive for the two men who will bring together their respective careers.

Master of burlesque

The history of Etaix with the film moves so naturally to the feature films and the success does not disappoint, quite the contrary. His first feature film, The Suitor (1962) definitively as a comic writer. Great tribute to the masters of the burlesque, in particular for Keaton and the Max Linder, the movie amazes with its gags, the sharpness of the observation of his peers and won several awards, including the prestigious Prix Louis Delluc in the same year. The style of the director is affirmed and is emerging, with finesse, to such a point that his achievements have a real plebiscite, popular and critical.

Between consecration and disgrace

A film emerges, in particular, the masterpiece Yoyo (a vibrant tribute to the world of the circus, which fascinated him always), where he adds to his art together burlesque, poetry is very personal, and a mix of subtle laughter and emotion. After the surreal and drôlissime Big love (1968), his two films as long As you have health (1966) and land of plenty (1971) are the opportunity to reveal a social character quite virulent. In the latter, he sketched a portrait without indulgence of his contemporaries, who did not acknowledge in its critical vision, pretty gross. While his cinema craft starts to generate serious skepticism among producers that do not see more in him than a reflection anachronistic to a world, his art must also face up to the greed of its patrons who do not consider it as the vector of gains that are easy and fast as it was before.

Man circus

Her career then takes a turn again and, in 1971, the director founded with his wife Annie Fratellini Ecole Nationale du Cirque”. It is necessary to wait for the 80s to see him back towards the Seventh Art : after having performed a detective in Max my love (1986) Nagisa Oshima, he adapted in 1987 for the film of his successful play, The Age of man is advanced, written two years earlier. Refined and of a great intelligence, his mise en scene is used perfectly the humor boulevardier of this very beautiful text written in tribute to Sacha Guitry.


In 1989, Pierre Etaix was entrusted with the realization of the first science fiction film in format Omnimax for la Géode, entitled ” I write in space, but turns out to be not convinced, by this experience, leaving for the last time the world of cinema, for the benefit of his first loves, drawing and writing. As a result of the clutter of administrative of an incredible magnitude, the filmmaker may not have access to his works for long years and falls into the oblivion of the general public before the world of cinema does not cluster and, on the occasion of the 2010 Cannes film festival, in particular, allows this genius too little known to be exposed to light as it should be.

We met Pierre Etaix…

Pierre Etaix Interview


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