France Televisions pays tribute to Jean-Pierre Bacri, who died on January 18, 2021, at the age of 69. On the program: the unpublished documentary Comme un air de famille, broadcast this Friday January 14 at 9:10 p.m. on France 3, but also films, to see or re-watch on france.tv.
“Jean-Pierre Bacri was our dearest contemporary. Maybe because he was never happy for nothing. Behind the caricature, we knew that he was a Frenchman par excellence, a man turned towards others, insensitive to flattery, ready for any anger when it was necessary to speak out against injustices and stupidity ”, says Gilles. Lellouche, the narrator, as a preamble to the unpublished documentary, Comme un air de famille, which France 3 is showing this evening (9:10 pm) in homage to the actor.
Since his disappearance, the French scene lacks one of its most outstanding figures. First of all, because he was, whatever he sometimes says, a very great actor. Secondly, because he was one of those who told it like it was, never hiding behind the so clean and smooth varnish that serves as a parade for the vast majority of showbiz personalities. Like a family resemblance, attended by Anne Alvaro, Pierre Arditi, Nathalie Baye, Jean-Pierre Bouvier, Alain Chabat, Olivier Doran, Dominique Farrugia, Attica Guedj, Sam Karmann, Jean-Michel Ribes, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, returns about who he was. No emphasis, no pathos, no ridicule, no delivery of obscene secrets. Ninety minutes of feedback on images interspersed with their testimonies, including from his friend Sam Karmann, with whom Bacri had nevertheless signed a total pact. “If you really are my friend and you are asked to talk about me, don’t do it,” the deceased asked him. “I’m doing it today, because he’s not here anymore. That’s clear, ”confesses the actor. And how well he did. Agnès Jaoui absent from the film, it is of all the one who speaks about it with the greatest attention, with the greatest care.
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Comme un family also looks back on his career. His childhood in Castiglione, Algeria. His arrival in France, with his parents. His adolescence in Cannes, the limits of which he saw straight away. His “rise” to Paris with 2000 francs in his pocket. Girls. The need to emancipate himself from the home group to which his black foot status had assigned him. His first small roles in works as little known as Thanatos Palace Hotel by James Thor, in 1979. His meeting with Roger Hanin, who will invite him to join his troop and propel him, before the rupture, final. His role as a pimp in Le Grand pardon (1982), by Alexandre Arcady, followed by Le Grand carnaval (1982) by Jean-Michel Ribes, combined, finally, with social recognition, interviews in which he plays the game but begins nevertheless to say things, like his repugnance to any idea of communitarianism which would also amount to locking him in a single type of role.
“You are never very far from the bullshit with the roots,” he said then. His contempt for generalities. His rejection of injustices and inequalities which soon turn into political engagement. Subway (1985), by Luc Besson, in which he composes the perfect archetype of the endearing grumpy man. His meeting, finally, on the Anniversary stage, of Harold Pinter, with Agnès Jaoui, with whom he immediately falls in love. For 25 years, the Jaoui / Bacri couple will mark theater and cinema with inspired, ambitious and fruitful collaborations.
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For them, but also, and perhaps above all, for French theater and cinema. Cuisine and dependence, the play: Molières for best comic play and author in 1992. Smoking / No Smoking by Alain Resnais: César for best screenplay. A family resemblance, the film: César for best screenplay. We know the song: Césars for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. Le Goût des autres: César for best screenplay. Like an Image: Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival … Not to mention the César of Honor for Lifetime Achievement, awarded posthumously, in 2021.
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In addition to the documentary, France Télévisions makes three films available to Internet users in which it plays very different roles: Chez Hortense, by Pascal Bonitzer, with Kristin Scott Thomas and Isabelle Carré (2012), Place publique, by Agnès Jaoui, with Agnès Jaoui and Léa Drucker (2018) and Summer on a gentle slope, by Gérard Krawczyk, with Jacques Villeret and Pauline Lafont (1987).