INTERVIEWS

Robert Hossein is dead

Comedian, filmmaker, stage director, theater and television man, the artist who died at the age of 93, was at the head of a protean career.

Robert Hossein is dead and with him his deep voice, whose throatiness testified both to a depth and a weakness. This voice, however, everyone will be able to hear it again indefinitely by following the lines of its imposing filmography. From the end of the forties to the beginning of the 21st century, the actor will have embodied the seducers, the thugs but also the aristocrats for Sacha Guitry ( The lame devil ), Jules Dassin ( Du Rififi chez les hommes …), Gérard Oury ( the threat ), Bernard Borderie (the series of Angelique Marquise of angels ), Henri Verneuil ( the Brain ), Marguerite Duras( The music ) but also Claude Lelouch ( Les Uns et les Autres …), Alexandre Arcady ( Le Grand Pardon …) or Tony Marshall ( Venus beauty, institute …) This filmo with a variegated profile, which failing that to be precisely flawless, draws the vitality of an actor who was also a man of theater and television but also a director. In front and behind, that is to say everywhere.

To the light

Robert Hossein liked to see himself as voracious. His friend Frédéric Dard compared him to a wolf. The person took that for a compliment. The wolf advances in a band, it is constantly chased. Robert Hossein was the son of an Iranian musician from the mythical city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan and of a Russian mother, on the brink of a brilliant acting career. But racism (his mother was Jewish), war, will get the better of their respective glory. Robert Hossein, born in the shadow of these extinguished lights, will therefore have spent his life keeping the flame of his own torch alive. “  My parents taught me humility, limitless imagination and hope … », Confided the person concerned during an interview with France Culture in 1995. And too bad, if all that did not make boil the pot, nor heat the room of maid of the street of Vaugirard in Paris.

”  Hope gives life  ” is not a vain expression. It can also be a credo. Raised in boarding schools, man has always been wary of “schools” preferring that of life. Young Hossein willingly sank into the dark rooms of the Latin Quarter in Paris and back in the dormitories, told what he had seen to his comrades who drank his words. In short, a born actor.

The actor will most often play the handsome dark, him whose drama teachers said he was born under a bad star, ”  neither handsome, nor ugly, nor brown, nor blond, nor young first, nor second, with a strange voice …  “For Marguerite Duras, he was:” a Don Juan in a bazaar, a Casanova for midinettes.  Here too, Hossein saw it as a compliment.

Pharaonic frescoes

Robert Hossein was above all a showman. Larger than life shows. From the seventies, he staged large pharaonic frescoes where the public could decide on the outcome of the intrigue: The Battleship Potemkine , Notre-Dame de Paris , Danton and Robespierre or even Jesus of Nazareth . “General public” pieces that will make critics and intellectuals smile. There was also Les Misérables , one of the great affairs of his life. First in a musical show, successfully transposed to Broadway then to the cinema in 1982 with Lino Ventura in Valjean, Michel Bouquet in Javert and Jean Carmetin Thenardier. Among his own cinematic achievements, his favorite was The Vampire of Düsseldorf in 1965 with his then-wife Marie-France Pisier . He also directed Johnny Hallyday in the unforgettable Point de chute in 1970.

Robert Hossein therefore joined God. He who was baptized when he was approaching fifty. ”  I lived in the hope of God …  “, he used to repeat. Eternity now stands before him.

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