Mocky, Jean-Pierre

(1929- )
   Actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. Jean-Pierre Mocky was born Jean-Paul Adam Mokiejewski in Nice. His screen-acting debut was in Jeff Musso's Vive la liberté in 1944. Afterward, he had a number of small roles in films such as Pierre Billon's L'Homme au chapeau rond (1946), Jean Stelli's La Cabane aux souvenirs (1947), and Jean Dréville's Les Casse-pieds (1948). He also had an uncredited part in Jean Cocteau's Orphée (1950). Mocky later acted in French and Italian films, including Michelangelo Antonioni's I Vinti (1953), Giorgio Bianchi's Graziella (1954), Francesco Maselli's Gli sbandati (1955), Robert Vernay's Le Compte de Monte-Cristo (1955), and Gilles Grangier's Le rouge est mis (1957).
   In the late 1950s, Mocky branched out from acting to try his hand at directing. His first film was La tête contre les murs (1958), in which he appeared and for which he also cowrote the script. Under the orders of the producers, the film was completed by director Georges Franju. After La tête contre les murs, Mocky acted only in his own films with a few notable exceptions. He appeared in Jean-Luc Godard's Prénom Carmen (1983) and Godard's television film Grandeur et décadence d'un petit commerce de cinéma (1986).
   Mocky's first completed film as a director was Les Dragueurs (1959), with Charles Aznavour and Jacques Charrier. It was followed by Un couple (1960), starring Francis Blache, who played principal roles in Mocky's Snobs (1961), La grande lessive (1968), and L'Étalon (1969). Les vierges (1962) also featured Aznavour and French playwright and actor Jean Poiret. Mocky began a fruitful collaboration with the beloved comic actor Bourvil in Un drôle de paroissien (1963), which was nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear. Bourvil also starred in La grande frousse (1964), La grande lessive, and L'Étalon. Another megastar of French comedy, Fernandel, would lead the cast of Mocky's La Bourse et la Vie (1965) with Poiret.
   Mocky's early career was defined in part by his work with famous comedians. In his later career he would become known for his black humor. In the 1970s and beyond, Mocky worked continuously with Jean Poiret and with actors Jacques Dufhilo, Richard Bohringer, and especially Michel Serrault. Serrault would lead in Mocky's Les Compagnons de la Marguerite (1966), L'Ibis rouge (1975), Le Roi des bricoleurs (1977), A mort l'arbitre! (1983), Le Miraculé (1986), Ville à vendre (1991), Bonsoir (1993), Le Furet (2003), and Grabuge! (2005).
   During the 1970s, Mocky began taking major roles in many of his films, among them Solo (1970), L'Albatros (1972), L'Ombre d'une chance (1974), Un linceul n'a pas de poches (1975), Le piège à cons (1979), La Machine à découdre (1985), Mocky Story (1991), Le Mari de Leon (1992), Vidange (1997), La Candide Madame Duff (1999), Tout est calme (1999), Le Glandeur (2000), La Bête de miséricorde (2001), and Les Araignées de la nuit (2001). Mocky's Litan won the Clavell de Plata at the Catalonian International Film Festival in 1982. His Le Miraculé was nominated for a Golden Berlin Bear in 1987.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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