French cinema has lost one of its most prolific actors. Jean-François Stévenin died this week on July 27. Stévenin made his acting debut in François Truffaut’s Enfant sauvage (1970), sparking a long collaboration between the two, marked by the role of Monsieur Richet in Truffaut’s L’argent de poche (1976) and effectively launching a career that would span more than 150 films. Next to his career as an actor, Stévenin also made three films starring himself: Passe montagne (1978), Double messieurs (1986) and Mischka (2002), in which he played alongside his wife and children. In 2018, his filmwork earned him the Prix Jean-Vigo, from the hands of Agnès Varda.
Time flies. Before long, you'll have kids of your own. If you love them, they'll love you. If they don't feel you love them they'll transfer their love and tenderness to other people or other things. That's life! Each of us needs to be loved! Well, boys, school is over. Have a happy vacation!
Monsieur Richet (Jean-François Stévenin) adressing his class in L’argent de poche (François Truffaut, 1976)
“Nothing is orthodox with him. For example, when I did a filmed portrait of Rivette, I gave him an appointment and he turned up on his motorbike, we framed him like that in the street and he didn't talk about Rivette as a cerebral, literary artist, but on the contrary as a gourmand, a sexy guy with an incredible dancing body. I also remember that I was the stage manager for a series of Johnny Hallyday concerts in 1984, it was Nathalie Baye who asked me to do it. He came almost every night and he was really into it, he was a real Johnny groupie and it wasn't in the second degree for some bad reason. He was a very atypical actor in French cinema, and he knew it. He reminds me of Marlon Brando or Robert Duvall, that is to say, whole guys, who give off an unassailable independence and at the same time are very seductive.”
- 1. Didier Péron, “Claire Denis : Stévenin, «rien n’est orthodoxe chez lui»,” Libération, 28 July 2021.