Actor Jean-François Stévenin, who began his career with Rivette and Truffaut before becoming a popular supporting role in French cinema and then a cult director in just three films, died Tuesday at the age of 77, his family announced.
"He died in the hospital in Neuilly, he fought well," said his son Sagamore Stévenin, also an actor.
Director of three films considered to be cult (“Passe montagne”, “Doubles Messieurs” and “Mischka”), Jean-François Stévenin is a prolific actor seen in films as eclectic as “Pocket money” by François Truffaut, “ Une chambre en ville "by Jacques Demy or" Le pacte des loups "by Christophe Gans.
Born in the Jura in 1944, this former student at HEC, with a romantic and treacherous background, discovered film sets during an internship in Cuba… on dairy production.
“I didn't know how to do anything, but I learned to speak Spanish very quickly, and I melted into the team.
Incognito, ”he said.
In 1968, he became assistant to Alain Cavalier on the set of “La Chamade”.
“For ten years, I was an assistant, I never thought of playing.
(…) And in + Out One +, by Jacques Rivette, where Juliet Berto had said: “It's funny, the assistant looks like Brando, why wouldn't he play Marlon?
The scene was kept for editing, ”he recalled in 2000 for Liberation.
The Pact of Wolves, The Man on the Train ...
His round face and piercing blue eyes quickly made him a familiar figure in French cinema. In the 1980s, he toured under the direction of Jean-Luc Godard (“Passion”), Bertrand Blier (“Notre histoire”) and Catherine Breillat (“36 Fillette”). Then will come the most successful films such as "Le Pacte des loups", where he plays with Vincent Cassel and Samuel Le Bihan or "L'Homme du train" directed by Patrice Leconte.
In 2018, his work as a filmmaker earned him a Jean-Vigo Honorary Award, which was awarded to him by Agnès Varda.
This award distinguishes independence of mind, quality and originality.
His films, where nature is very present, are marked by the cinema of Cassavetes and, like the American filmmaker, he likes to film those close to him.
He is the father of four children, all actors: Sagamore, Robinson, Salomé and Pierre.
His latest film, “Lost Illusions” by Xavier Giannoli, adapted from Balzac, is due to be screened in September at the Venice Film Festival.