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Figure of French theater and cinema, Jean-Pierre Bacri died Monday of cancer, announced his agent. Used to the roles of grieving and disillusioned but deeply human anti-heroes, he has been awarded several times as an actor and as a screenwriter.

Many political figures have expressed their “sadness” at the announcement of his death, praising his talents as a screenwriter and actor, his humor or the “committed” man he was.

During his career Jean-Pierre Bacri received five César: four times the trophy for best screenplay with his ex-partner Agnès Jaoui (for “Smoking / No Smoking”, “Un air de famille”, “We know the song” and “The Taste of Others”) and once that of the best actor in a supporting role for “We know the song”.

He has been nominated six times for the César for best actor (for “Kennedy et moi”, “Le Goût des autres”, “Les Sentiments”, “Recherchesz Hortense”, “The very private life of Monsieur Sim” and “Le Sens Of the party”).

Fight against sectarianism

Sometimes cataloged as the actor of a single role, that of the eternal grumpy, he hated however that one sticks “this label” to him: “I do not always play grumbling characters!”, Was carried away the actor with AFP in 2015.

Jean-Pierre Bacri did not like heroes and “did not believe in brilliant types of happiness”. “Tracking down the lived experience, sobriety, modesty” and “refusing cheating” were a profession of faith.

In the roles he chose or those he wrote with Agnès Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri defended cultural sectarianism, conformism, chapels, servility …

It was his father who had transmitted this moral to him, during his childhood in Castiglione (Algeria), where Jean-Pierre was born in May 1951. A postman, he worked at weekends in the city’s cinema and introduced the Seventh Art to his son.

First the writing

In 1962, the family emigrated to Cannes, where Jean-Pierre Bacri began studying literature. When he goes to Paris and pushes the door of a drama class, it is primarily writing that interests him.

In 1977, he wrote his first play, “Simply”, quickly followed by three others. At the same time, Jean-Pierre Bacri landed small roles on television and on stage.

In 1982, his character as a pimp in Alexandre Arcady’s “Le Grand Pardon” made him known to the general public. Two years later, he was nominated for the César award for best actor in a supporting role for his character as an outdated and taciturn cop in Luc Besson’s “Subway”.

Duet with Agnès Jaoui

But his talent really only bursts alongside Agnès Jaoui, whom he met in 1987 at the theater in Pinter’s “Birthday”. Very quickly, the “Jacri” – as the director Alain Resnais called them – pooled their sour humor and their gift of observation to write with four hands.

Their first play “Kitchen and dependencies” (1992) is a success quickly adapted to the cinema, just like “Un air de famille” (1996). Alain Resnais called on them for the scenarii of “Smoking / NoSmoking” (1993) and “We know the song” (1997). Then Agnès Jaoui goes behind the camera for “The taste of others” (2000).

In recent years, the actor was filming less, limiting himself to two films a year and claiming his right to be lazy. Among his latest films, “Place publique”, by Agnès Jaoui, in 2018.

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