Bouquet, Michel

(1925- )
   Actor. Michel Bouquet was born in Paris. His career as an actor began with a meeting with Maurice Escande, who would later become one of his professors at the Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique in Paris. He became a respected theater actor who worked closely with the acclaimed French play-wright Jean Anouilh. His first appearances onscreen were in 1947 in Gilbert Gil's Brigade criminelle and Maurice Cloche's Monsier Vincent. He subsequently worked under several notable French directors, including Henri-Georges Clouzot (in Manon, 1949), Jean Grémillon (in his 1949 Pattes blanches, which was cowritten by Anouilh), and Abel Gance (in La Tour de Nesle in 1955). He also acted in Anouilh's film Deux sous de violettes in 1951. Bouquet is well known for his work with Nouvelle Vague or New Wave director Claude Chabrol, which started in 1965 with Le tigre se parfume à la dynamite, followed by La Route de Corinthe in 1967. Bouquet's most prominent role with Chabrol was alongside Stéphane Audran in La Femme infidèle (1968). He paired again with Chabrol in La Rupture (1970), Juste avant la nuit (1971), and Poulet au vinaigre (1985). Bouquet was chosen by New Wave director François Truffaut for a leading role next to Jeanne Moreau in La Mariée était en noir (1967) and a supporting role in his La Sirène du Mississippi.
   In the 1970s, Bouquet veered away from New Wave directors and toward other then-emerging cinéastes. He starred in Yves Boisset's Un Condé (1970), Edouard Luntz's Le dernier saut (1970) and L'Humeur vagabonde (1972), Nelly Kaplan's Papa, les petits bateaux (1971), Roger Pigaut's Comptes à rebours (1971) and Trois millards sans ascenseur (1972), René Gainville's Le Complot (1973), Nadine Trintignant's Défense de savoir (1973), and Alain Corneau's France société anonyme (1974). He also played supporting roles in Jacques Deray's Borsalino (1970), Harry Kumel's Malpertuis (1971), Jean-Louis Bertucelli's Paulina 1880 (1972), and Francis Veber's Le Jouet (1976). Bouquet acted largely in television films in the 1980s, with a few exceptions such as his work in Poulet au vinaigre, his role as Javert in Robert Hossein's 1982 Les Misérables, and his leading performance alongside Bernard Blier in Christian Zerbib's Fuite en avant. In 1990, he starred in Belgian director Jaco van Dormael's Toto le héros, for which he won Best Actor at the European Film Awards.
   In the 1990s, Bouquet played supporting roles in Corneau's Tous les matins du monde (1991) and Jean Becker's Élisa (1995) and a leading role in Roger Guillot's Joie de vivre (1993). In 1997, he became a professor at the Conservatoire. He appeared again with Moreau to play the writer Guisseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa in the Italian film Manoscritto del principe (2000), by Roberto Andô. He won his next major awards — a César Award and a Lumiere Award for Best Actor—for his work in Anne Fontaine's Comment j'ai tué mon père (2002). He then costarred with Philippe Noiret in Bertrand Blier's Les Côtelettes, and with Miou-Miou in Michelle Porte's L'Après-midi de Monsieur Andesmas (2004). In 2005, Bouquet gave a memorable interpretation of President François Mitterrand in Robert Guédiguian's Le Promeneur du Champ de Mars.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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