The death of a luminous star
The actor Jean Rochefort died today October 9, 2017. He took his last bow at 87 years old in a discrete manner, practical and straightforward like many of his roles. He was an actor that enjoyed taking risks while always staying in the shadows, that was his trick, his secret, lingering in the background and letting others shine through. When necessary, he didn’t hesitate on taking over the screen, if it was for the benefit of the film and the storyline. He feared no challenge, no risk. For him, “Ridicule” was only the name of one of his movies. He was the quintessential supporting actor with a reassuring and sometimes troubling presence, making the protagonist shine in a new and strange way. Rochefort knew well that he wasn’t there to be the leading star in the poster, but he had a deep understanding of the craft, always at the service of the script and the filmmaker. He knew how to stay on the sidelines; he was a dark mirror, an ineffable and reliable companion, a perfect carrier of light. With his unchanging face, bushy mustache, royal nose and silver rebel hair. Jean Rochefort was always with his Commedia dell’Arte mask on, ready to transform in an old lover, not so graceful dancer, heartless courtesan, outdated painter or also a professional masturbator.
With his elongated silhouette and his “sad figure,” he could have been the best Don Quixote that the screen never saw, though true to his style he would surely have preferred the role of Sancho Panza, shameless but finally more free and luminous.