Jean-Pierre Léaud

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Jean-Pierre Léaud
Jean-Pierre Léaud Césars.jpg
At the César awards ceremony.
Born (1944-05-28) 28 May 1944 (age 69)
Paris, France
Occupation Actor
Years active Since 1958
Awards Silver Bear for Best Actor (Berlin International Film Festival)
1966 Masculin Féminin

Best Actor (Thessaloniki Film Festival)
1996 Pour rire!

Honorary César (César Awards)

2001 The Pornographer

Jean-Pierre Léaud (French: [ʒɑ̃pjɛʁ le.o]; born 28 May 1944) is a French actor.

Early life[edit]

Born in Paris, Léaud made his major debut as an actor at the age of 14 as Antoine Doinel, a semi-autobiographical character based on the life events of French film director François Truffaut, in The 400 Blows. To cast the two adolescents, Truffaut published an announcement in France-Soir and auditioned several hundred children in September and October 1958. Jean Domarchi, a critic at Cahiers du cinéma, had earlier recommended the son of an assistant scriptwriter, Pierre Léaud, and the actress Jacqueline Pierreux.

Truffaut was immediately captivated by the fourteen-year-old adolescent,[citation needed] who had already appeared the previous year with Jean Marais in Georges Lampin's La Tour prends garde! He recognized traits they both shared, "for example a certain suffering with regard to the family...With, however, this fundamental difference: though we were both rebels, we hadn't expressed our rebellion in the same way. I preferred to cover up and lie. Jean-Pierre, on the contrary, seeks to hurt, shock and wants it to be known...Why? Because he's unruly, while I was sly. Because his excitability requires that things happen to him, and when they don't occur quickly enough, he provokes them."[citation needed]

Jean-Pierre Léaud, then in the eighth grade at a private school in Pontigny, was far from an ideal student. The director of the school wrote this to Truffaut, "I regret to inform you that Jean Pierre is more and more 'unmanageable'. Indifference, arrogance, permanent defiance, lack of discipline in all its forms. He has twice been caught leafing through pornographic pictures in the dorm. He is developing more and more into an emotionally disturbed case."[1] But this unstable boy, who often ran away with the older students on their nights out, could also be brilliant, generous, and affectionate. Extremely cultured for his age,[citation needed] he was already very good at writing, and he even claimed to Truffaut that he had written a "verse tragedy", Torquatus.[citation needed]

Acting career[edit]

Léaud starred in four more Truffaut films depicting the life of Doinel, spanning a period of 20 years — after the short-film Antoine et Colette in 1962 — beside actress Claude Jade as his girlfriend, and then wife, Christine. Those films are Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed and Board (1970) and Love on the Run (1979). He also collaborated with Truffaut on non-Antoine Doinel films like Two English Girls and La Nuit américaine and became the actor most commonly affiliated with him. Although Antoine Doinel is his most famous character, he often found his performances in other films to be compared to his Doinel character whether there were legitimate similarities or not.[2]

He is one of the most visible and well-known actors to be associated with the French New Wave film movement and, aside from his work with Truffaut, collaborated with Jean-Luc Godard (nine films), Jean Eustache, Jacques Rivette and Agnes Varda. 1973 was perhaps the peak of his professional career when he had three critically acclaimed films released: Truffaut's La Nuit américaine, Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris and Eustache's The Mother and the Whore.

In 1966, he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 16th Berlin International Film Festival for his role in Jean-Luc Godard's Masculin, féminin.[3] He was nominated for a César Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1988 for Les Keufs and was awarded an Honorary César for lifetime achievement in 2000.

Léaud acted in films by other influential directors, such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jerzy Skolimowski, Bernardo Bertolucci, Aki Kaurismäki and more recently Olivier Assayas and Tsai Ming-liang. He appeared with a hero of his, Marlon Brando in the Bertolucci film Last Tango in Paris, although the two never met, since all of Léaud's scenes were shot on Saturdays and Brando refused to work on Saturdays.[4]

Honours and awards[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Director
1958 King on Horseback Pierrot Georges Lampin
1959 The 400 Blows Antoine Doinel François Truffaut
1960 Boulevard Jojo Julien Duvivier
Testament of Orpheus Dargelos Jean Cocteau
1962 Antoine and Colette Antoine Doinel François Truffaut
1965 Pierrot le Fou a spectator Jean-Luc Godard
Love at Sea cameo appearance Guy Gilles
1966 Le Père Noël a les yeux bleus Daniel Jean Eustache
Made in U.S.A. Donald Siegel Jean-Luc Godard
Masculin Féminin Paul Jean-Luc Godard
Alphaville the waiter Jean-Luc Godard
1967 Weekend Saint-Just Jean-Luc Godard
La Chinoise Guillaume Jean-Luc Godard
The Departure Marc Jerzy Skolimowski
1968 Stolen Kisses Antoine Doinel François Truffaut
1969 Pigsty Julian Klotz Pier Paolo Pasolini
Joy of Learning le Rousseau Jean-Luc Godard
1970 Bed and Board Antoine Doinel François Truffaut
1971 Two English Girls Claude Roc François Truffaut
Out 1 Colin Jacques Rivette
1972 Last Tango in Paris Tom Bernardo Bertolucci
1973 The Mother and the Whore Alexandre Jean Eustache
Day for Night Alphonse François Truffaut
1979 Love on the Run Antoine Doinel François Truffaut
1981 Help Me Dream Mario Pupi Avati
1985 Treasure Island Midas Raoul Ruiz
Détective Inspector Neveu Jean-Luc Godard
1988 36 Fillette Boris Golovine Catherine Breillat
1989 Bunker Palace Hôtel Solal Enki Bilal
1990 I Hired a Contract Killer Henri Boulanger Aki Kaurismäki
1992 La Vie de Bohème Blancheron Aki Kaurismäki
1995 One Hundred and One Nights Jean-Pierre Agnès Varda
1996 My Man Monsieur Claude Bertrand Blier
Irma Vep René Vidal Olivier Assayas
2001 The Pornographer Jacques Laurent Bertrand Bonello
What Time Is It There? Jean-Pierre/the man at the cemetery Tsai Ming-liang
2004 Folle embellie Fernand Dominique Cabrera
2009 Face Antoine/King Herodes Tsai Ming-liang
2011 Le Havre the informer Aki Kaurismäki
2012 Camille redouble the jeweller Noémie Lvovsky


  1. ^ Baecque, Antoine de; Toubiana, Serge (4 September 2000). Truffaut. University of California Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-520-22524-4. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Essay on Léaud's career". 
  3. ^ "Berlinale 1966: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  4. ^ Monaco, James (1978). Celebrity: the media as image makers. Dell Pub. Co. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-440-50991-2. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 

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