Actor Jacques Perrin is immortal thanks to the end of ‘Cinema Paradiso’

the parisian interpreter Jacques Perrin, protagonist of one of the most unforgettable sequences for viewers in cinema Paradiso (1988), has died at eighty years of age; in the same French city where he was born one day in July 1941. It was easy for him to enter the world of Gallic entertainment thanks to his parents, Alexandre Simonet, who was theatrical director of the Comédie-Française, and the actress Marie Perrin , not much lavished on the art that made her son so popular.

Throughout his artistic career, he obtained the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Festival for giving life to Manuel in The search and for his Michele de a divided manworks by Angelino Fons and Vittorio de Seta (1966), and got him nominated for two Oscars to produce Zthe film by Costa-Gavras (1969) in which he was also the photojournalist and which was awarded as the best non-English language, and the documentary wind nomads (2001), which he also directed.

In his country, they only recognized Jacques Perrin in the same category with a pair of caesar for microcosma proposal of the genre signed by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Pérennou (1997), and due to another similar one, oceans (2009), for which he was behind the cameras. But it is the film by Giuseppe Tornatore, winner of the Cannes Film Festival, the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAsthe one that has guaranteed that it will last in the memory of moviegoers.

The actor who was really moved

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As the critic and screenwriter Iván Reguera has recalled, “the final sequence of kisses from cinema Paradiso it was edited by Giuseppe Tornatore with his own hands, and some kisses were mounted upside down. For the filming of the sequence, he tried the camera with the lights off and later shot with the actor Jacques Perrin, who upon seeing the images reacted authentically, excited. When these wonders happen, cinema transcends and becomes immortal”. And, thus, the interpreter himself.

“Tornatore did another take later, but it didn’t come out as true anymore; Perrin was no longer a virgin”, continues the Spanish writer. “That’s why this finale continues to excite, because everything works in it: shots, light, music, editing and the actor, who has died today at the age of eighty. But like all those kisses at which he was truly moved, Jacques Perrin will remain, sitting in his red chair forever, in one of the most exciting scenes in movie history”.

The final sequence of ‘Cinema Paradiso’: a cinematographic miracle

The cinematographic miracle referred to, in part, by Iván Reguera, who told this same story in his book the end (2017), is that of the camera capturing a genuine emotional reaction in a person who is supposed to be acting on the set of a fictional film. Rarely does something like this happen with such intensity. aside from cinema Paradisowe remember, for example, a very young Ana Torrent in The spirit of the hive (1973).

The movie Frankenstein, by James Whale (1931), is screened in Hoyuelos, a small Castilian town, in the midst of the post-civil war period. There are two sisters among the neighbors who attend the function: Ana and Isabel (Tellería), aged six and eight. And the first is shocked by the adaptation of the story of Mary Shelley (1818). Above all, it turns out memorable his expression at the death of the girl Maria de Marilyn Harris; as sincere as that of Jacques Perrin at the end of cinema Paradiso.

In the words of another critic, Adrián Massanet, “getting that kind of look, of psychic tension, in an actor (which must be the same one you want to instill in the viewer’s mind), is sometimes incredibly difficult, but if it is achieved It is the most important thing that cinema can achieve.”. Because, “in reality, cinema is not about the human being, it is about the spectator. It’s about someone looking at something that moves, terrifies or amazes them. I mean, someone watching a movie.”

A small role for Jacques Perrin, the biggest of his career

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Jacques Perrin soon began acting, playing one of the Quinquina children in the gates of the night, by Marcel Carne (1946). Among his later roles worth mentioning is his Jérôme Lamy in The truth, a film made by Henri-Georges Clouzot (1960); the Lorenzo Fainardi of The girl with the suitcase and his namesake in family chronicle, both by Valerio Zurlini (1961, 1962); or the Stefano Mattoli of The corruptionby Mauro Bolognini (1963).

Not forgetting her Maxence in The Misses de Rochefort, a musical directed by Jacques Demy (1967); his aforementioned character Zthe telephone operator in Site status (1972) and the Roger Lafarge of special section (1975), all three signed by Costa-Gavras; the older Alvaro in Everyone is finehis second collaboration with Giuseppe Tornatore (1990) after cinema Paradiso; or the adult Pierre Morhange in The choir boysthe success of Christophe Barratier (2004).

But it is noteworthy that the most relevant role of his careerthat of Salvatore di Vita or Totò, be it so tiny in terms of the time it appears on the screen. Because most of it is dedicated to the youngest Salvatore Cascio and the adolescent Marco Leonardi, the colleagues who dress up as their character during his childhood and youth in the Sicilian town of Giancaldo, whose projectionist is Philippe Noiret’s Alfredo, with whom forge a strong bond and learn a lot.

The emotions that germinate while the footage of Giuseppe Tornatore’s film passes explode in the last sequence; and we see how many filmic kisses the stupid censorship had not allowed us to see, with the most beautiful and essential score of Ennio Morricone in the ears. And so Jacques Perrin’s visceral reaction reaches us to the core. Because cinema Paradiso it is a great declaration of love to cinema as part and reflection of life.