Death of actor and director Jean-François Stévenin at the age of 77

DISAPPEARANCE – Prolific actor and director who has become cult in just three films (Mountain pass, Doubles gentlemen and Mischka), he died on Tuesday in the hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

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 told the AFP. “He died in the hospital in Neuilly, he fought well”, said his son Sagamore Stévenin, also an actor.

Director of three cult films (Mountain pass, Doubles gentlemen and Mischka), Jean-François Stévenin is a prolific actor seen in films as eclectic as Pocket money by François Truffaut, A room in town 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.

A familiar figure

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: “Funny, the assistant looks like Brando, why don’t he play Marlon? ” “The scene was kept during the editing”, he remembered in 2000 for Liberation.

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 (Our story) and Catherine Breillat (36 Girl). Then will come the more successful films like The Pact of the Wolves, where he plays with Vincent Cassel and Samuel Le Bihan or even The man on the train directed by Patrice Leconte.

Jean-François Stévenin: “A film is never finished”

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, must be presented at the start of the school year at the Venice festival.

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