Lavant at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival
July 17, 1961 |
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France
Denis Lavant (born 17 June 1961) is a French actor known for his distinctive face and the physically demanding aspects of the roles he plays, which often involve slapstick, acrobatics or dance, as well as for his long-standing association with director Leos Carax. Lavant has played the lead role in all but one of Carax's films. Lavant is also known for his roles in Claire Denis' Beau Travail, and Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely.
Life and career
Lavant was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, in France. At 13, he took courses in pantomime and the circus, fascinated by Marcel Marceau. He trained at the Paris Conservatoire under Jacques Lassalle, and began his professional career in 1982 in theatre, acting in Shakespeare's Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. In 1982 he appeared in the television film L'Ombre sur la plage, before playing the minor part of Montparnasse in Robert Hossein's Les Misérables, which was entered into the 13th Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Special Prize. He appeared in several further minor roles before making his breakthrough in 1984 as the lead in Boy Meets Girl, playing a depressed, aspiring filmmaker who falls in love with a suicidal young woman. The film marked the directorial debut of Leos Carax, with whose films Lavant has been associated ever since.
In 1986, Lavant and Carax worked together again on the thriller Mauvais Sang and again in 1991 on Carax's third film, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf. In both Mauvais Sang and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf, Lavant starred opposite Juliette Binoche. In 1998, Lavant appeared in the iconic Jonathan Glazer-directed video for the UNKLE song Rabbit in Your Headlights, and in 1999, he played one of the lead roles in Beau Travail, directed by Claire Denis. In 2007, he appeared in Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely, in which he portrayed a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. Lavant, who does not speak English, took an intensive language course in preparation and learned his lines phonetically. His longtime associate Leos Carax appears in a supporting role as the main character's talent agent.
In 2008, Lavant and Carax re-united for the anthology film Tokyo!, which marked their first work together since Lovers on the Bridge and Carax's first major directing work in nearly a decade. Carax's segment for the film, called "Merde," starred Lavant as a violent monster who lives in the sewers of Tokyo and speaks in a gibberish language, venturing out occasionally to attack passersby.
In 2012 he starred in Leos Carax' film Holy Motors where he plays a "chameleonic actor on assignment, ferried around Paris in a white limousine and changing en route from beggar-woman to satyr to assassin to victim." The film was an entrant at the Cannes Film Festival.
|1982||L'ombre sur la plage||Mathieu||TV movie|
|1983||Entre Nous||Un militaire|
|1983||The Wounded Man|
|1984||Viva la vie||Caviar delivery man|
|1984||Boy Meets Girl||Alex|
|1985||Partir, revenir||Le patient de Simon Lerner|
|1989||Un tour de manège||Berville|
|1989||Mona and I||Pierre|
|1991||Les Amants du Pont-Neuf||Alex||Nominated – European Film Award for Best Actor|
|1993||Fuis la nuit||short|
|1993||De force avec d'autres||Denis|
|1994||La partie d'échecs||Max|
|1995||Visiblement je vous aime||Denis|
|1998||Le monde à l'envers||Yann|
|1998||Melody for a Hustler||L'auto-stoppeur|
|2000||Deep in the Woods||Stéphane|
|2000||The Squale||Le joker|
|2001||Affaire Libinski||Anatoli Libinski||short|
|2002||Sous-commandant Père Noël||short|
|2002||La merveilleuse odyssée de l'idiot Toboggan||voice|
|2004||Low Street||Old Man||short|
|2004||A Very Long Engagement||Six-Soux|
|2004||Le soldat inconnu vivant||TV movie
|2007||Mister Lonely||Charlie Chaplin|
|2007||Captain Ahab||Capitaine Achab|
|2007||Iyi Seneler Londra||Gerard|
|2008||Comment Albert vit bouger les montagnes|
|2009||The Temptation of St. Tony||Count Dionysos Korzybski|
|2009||Les cow-boys n'ont pas peur de mourir||short
|2009||Obsession(s)||Marc Douelec||TV movie|
|2010||Bury Our Dogs||Lucas||voice|
|2010||Je, François Villon, voleur, assassin, poète||TV movie||Bezon|
|2010||Tandis qu'en bas des hommes en armes||Vilard||short|
|2010||Hitler in Hollywood||Denis Lavant|
|2011||Experiment 5ive: Atlantic||Jack||short|
|2011||My Little Princess||Ernst|
|2011||Les amours perdues||Vincent||short|
|2011||Le petit poucet||L'ogre|
|2011||L'oeil de l'astronome||Kepler – Jean|
|2012||Holy Motors||Mr. Oscar||Chicago International Film Festival's Silver Hugo for Best Actor
IndieWire's Film Critics Poll: Best Performance
International Cinephile Society Award for Best Actor
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor (runner-up)
Nominated – César Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor (runner-up)
Nominated – National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor (runner-up)
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor (runner-up)
Nominated – Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated – Village Voice Film Poll: Best Actor (runner-up)
- "Denis Lavant" (in French). Allocine.fr. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
- "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- Interview with actor Denis Lavant
- BBrooks, Xan (11 June 2012), Kylie should be so lucky as film hits the jackpot, The Guardian
- "Indiewire 2012 Year-End Critics Poll". IndieWire.
- "The 2012 Voice Film Critics' Poll". Village Voice.