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Michel Duchaussoy obituary

 
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Michel Duchaussoy obituary Reply with quote

div class="track"img alt="" src="http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.22.4/88201?ns=guardianpageName=Michel+Duchaussoy%3AArticle%3A1719883ch=Filmc3=GU.co.ukc4=Film%2CFrance%2CEurope+%28News%29%2CStage%2CClaude+Chabrol%2CMarlon+Brando+%28Film%29c5=Unclassified%2CNot+commercially+useful%2CFilm+Reviews%2CTheatrec6=Ronald+Berganc7=12-Mar-19c8=1719883c9=Articlec10=Obituaryc11=Filmc13=c25=c30=contentc42=Cultureh2=GU%2FCulture%2FFilm%2FFrance" width="1" height="1" //divp class="standfirst"French actor who played several classic roles on stage and dubbed the voice of Marlon Brando in The Godfather/ppIn order to fully appreciate the wide-ranging acting talents of Michel Duchaussoy, who has died from a heart attack aged 73, one would have to be both French-speaking and resident in France. To those less fortunate, the knowledge of Duchaussoy is restricted to his striking appearances in several a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/sep/12/claude-chabrol-obituary" title=""Claude Chabrol/a movies, and others by Alain Jessua, a href="http://www.criterion.com/explore/136-louis-malle" title=""Louis Malle/a and Patrice Leconte, which were among the relatively few of his many films to be released in Britain and the US.nbsp;/ppIn France, Duchaussoy was equally known as a television actor, whose voice was also recognisable from his dubbing of cartoon characters and stars such as Marlon Brando, in The Godfather. Prolific as he was in films and television, Duchaussoy was celebrated mainly for his 20-year tenure with the a href="http://www.comedie-francaise.fr/" title=""Comédie-Française/a theatre in Paris. There, he was able to display, in a vast variety of roles, his ability to express a great deal with an extreme simplicity of means, such as a quiver of a lip or the lifting of an eyebrow./ppHe was born in Valenciennes, northern France, one of seven children of an industrialist. After studying literature at the university in Lille, he spent an unhappy military service in Algeria. On his return, he settled in Paris, where he entered the Conservatoire. In 1964, having gained prizes for acting in both modern and classical roles, he was accepted into the Comédie-Française./ppTall, fair and handsome, with blue eyes, he could easily have got parts as juvenile leads, but he preferred more enigmatic, dramatic roles or broadly comic ones. For more than two decades, he established himself as a versatile actor in the traditional French repertoire – Molière, Marivaux and Feydeau – as well as playing Clarence in a href="http://theshakespeareblog.com/2011/12/the-rscs-golden-years-terry-hands-and-alan-howard/" title=""Terry Hands's/a production of Richard III in 1972 and a luminous Prince Myshkin in an adaptation of Dostoevsky's The Idiot (1975), directed by Michel Vitold./ppAway from the Comédie-Française, Duchaussoy played in Shakespeare, Shaw, Pirandello and Pinter in Paris and in the provinces, and created the role of a gay man dying of Aids in Une Visite Inopportune (An Inopportune Visit) by the playwright Copi (Raúl Damonte Botana) in 1987. He returned to the Comédie-Française in 2007 for Sean O'Casey's The End of the Beginning.nbsp;/ppHe made an impact in his first film role, in Jessua's Jeu de Massacre (The Killing Game, 1967), as a young paranoid playboy who claims to live the experiences of a comic-book hero and believes he is being pursued by a gang after his life. It was not long before Duchaussoy came to the attention of Chabrol, who cast him as a police officer in La Femme Infidèle (The Unfaithful Wife, 1969), investigating the murder of the wife's lover by her husband. Confronting Stéphane Audran, in the title role, Duchaussoy is mostly poker-faced, though a very slight ironic smile suggests he knows more than he pretends./ppThat piquant supporting performance led Chabrol to give him one of his rare principal screen roles in Que La Bête Meure! (This Man Must Die, 1969). Duchaussoy plays a widower who, after his eight-year-old son is killed by a hit-and-run driver, resolves to murder the culprit. "When I find him, I won't kill him right away," he says with cold calculation. "I'll get to know him, and savour my revenge." Duchaussoy's impassive, almost Bressonian, performance brilliantly masks his real passion.nbsp;/ppThis was followed by a smaller role in Chabrol's La Rupture (1970) as the lawyer of a woman (Audran) whose marriage is breaking up. In a long sequence on a tram, he is the audience's surrogate as he listens to her confessions. In Nada (The Nada Gang, 1974), Chabrol's black political thriller, he is a discontented teacher who joins a disparate group of leftwing terrorists planning to kidnap the American ambassador in Paris. Claiming to be a "libertarian communist", he opts out, believing the group and the state are "two jaws of the same trap". Duchaussoy's last film with Chabrol was La Demoiselle d'Honneur (a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2005/may/13/10" title=""The Bridesmaid/a, 2004), in which he was almost unrecognisable as a tramp.nbsp;/ppFor Jessua, Duchaussoy appeared as an icy doctor at a sinister rejuvenating clinic in Traitement de Choc (Shock Treatment, 1973), and a police inspector coolly tracking down an insane criminal (Jean Yanne) in Armaguedon (Armageddon, 1977). For Malle, in Milou en Mai (May Fools, 1990), he was delightfully droll as a bourgeois newspaper correspondent based in London, who keeps coming out with expressions in English, and fears the events of 1968. He was also seen in two films by Leconte: La Veuve de Saint-Pierre (The Widow of Saint-Pierre, 2000), in which he was the stern governor of a French island determined to carry out an execution, and Confidences Trop Intimes (Intimate Strangers, 2004), as a psychoanalyst. His subsequent films included the comedy L'Âge de Raison (With Love … from the Age of Reason, 2010). In 2011, he was awarded the Légion d'Honneur./ppHe is survived by his daughter, Julia./pp• Michel Duchaussoy, actor, born 29 November 1938; died 13 March 2012/pdiv class="related" style="float: left; margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"ullia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/france"France/a/lilia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/europe-news"Europe/a/lilia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/claude-chabrol"Claude Chabrol/a/lilia href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/marlonbrando"Marlon Brando/a/li/ul/divdiv class="author"a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/ronaldbergan"Ronald Bergan/a/divbr/div class="terms"a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk"guardian.co.uk/a copy; 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our a href="http://users.guardian.co.uk/help/article/0,,933909,00.html"Terms Conditions/a | a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/help/feeds"More Feeds/a/divp style="clear:both" /

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