Pierre Étaix

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Pierre Étaix
Pierre Etaix 1.JPG
Pierre Étaix, 2011
Born (1928-11-23) 23 November 1928 (age 86)
Roanne, France
Occupation Actor, director, clown
Years active 1954–present
Spouse(s) Annie Violette Fratellini (1932–1997)

Pierre Étaix (French: [etɛks]; born 23 November 1928) is a French clown, comedian and filmmaker. Étaix made a series of acclaimed short- and feature-length films in the 1960s,[1] many of them co-written by influential screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. He has won an Academy Award. Due to a legal dispute with a distribution company, these films were unavailable for a long period.[2] They have now been restored and are available again.[3]

As an actor, assistant director and gag writer, Étaix has worked with the likes of Jacques Tati, Robert Bresson, Nagisa Oshima, Otar Iosseliani and Jerry Lewis, who cast the comedian in his unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried.

Biography[edit]

Clown, director, designer, gagman, magician, poster disigner: the range of talents of Peter Etaix is vast. Native of Roanne where he was born in 1928, training designer, introduced to the art of stained glass by master Theodore Gerard Hanssen-Pierre Etaix basically built his career around the comic. He settled in Paris where he lives illustrations while performing in cabarets and music halls, including The Golden Horse, The Three Donkeys, ABC and the Alhambra, Bobino and Olympia, and that circus clown with Nino.

He meets Jacques Tati in 1954 for which he worked as a draftsman and gagman to prepare his film My Uncle, he realizes the poster, then as assistant director on the film (1958). He performs with his music-hall number, in 1960, in the sight of Jacques Tati: Feast Day at the Olympia. Pierre Étaix is a continuation of the great masters of slapstick (comedy film the silent era) as Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Max Linder, Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy admires limitless and that he graphically rendered many respects.

His apprenticeship with the comic Jacques Tati construction, proper motion, the quite naturally leads to the realization of his first short break, he co-authored with Jean-Claude Carrière. The day after the shooting of the film, Pierre Étaix presents his producer the idea of his second short film Happy birthday, also co-authored with Jean-Claude Carrière. The film won, among others, the Oscar for best short film in 1963.

He directed his first feature film The Sighing in 1963 and Yoyo in 1964, where he pays homage to the circus world that fascinates him forever. He then directed two feature films Until we health (1965), The Great Love (1968) he co-authored with Jean-Claude Carrière. During the summer of 1969 he made the land of plenty on 16mm film for which he is reviled by critics who does not forgive his sad for the development of the consumer society, the day after May 68. Therefore, he began a long journey through the desert cinématographique1.

Faced with the scarcity of French circus artists Pierre Étaix decides to found the National Circus School (1973), with Annie Fratellini (married in 1969) and occurs mainly in white clown with it during tours of their own circus, having long played the tramp.


In 1985 he signed his first play Age of Sir is advanced, authentic tribute to Sacha Guitry and the art of theater. However, it denied the staging, which entrusts Jean Poiret. Given the success of the play, asked the television adaptation in 1987. He directed the film and played the lead role as partners with Nicole Calfan and Jean Carmet. The following year he was commissioned by La Sept for a thematic evening on Georges Méliès and directed the short film artist Dream CGI or Méliès nightmare starring Christophe Malavoy and the Rapt drama series black mouse that gets the silver medaiilon FIPA.


In 1989, he was entrusted with the implementation of the first fiction film omnimax format I write in space, for La Geode La Villette in 1989; Order made to him for the celebrations of the bicentenary of the Revolution, around a subject imposed on the invention of the telegraph, which he wrote the screenplay with Jean-Claude Carrière. His interest in the process - hitherto reserved for wildlife or landscape documentaries and inescapable loop roller coaster fairground - is motivated by this new form of expression significantly differing from the classic film process, the relationship established between the viewer and the projected image. It is with this last film that stops the film career of Pierre Etaix. Subjects close to his heart, he has written four scenarios between 1974 and 1986: BABEL, that you love one another, God's name and Fost does not emerge. The film BABEL project is denied by an impressive number of solicited producers. The cost of the film and the disaffection for Jerry Lewis, are the arguments. Despite the failure to resolve the projects that are close to her heart, it stops working.

His mastery of sound and comic in each of his films, where the gags are constantly changing, currently Pierre Étaix the sole representative of slapstick in France, like Jerry Lewis in the United States.

In October 2009, it is the dedication, the Light Festival in Lyon, who gave the main objective of restoration of films and their screening during the festival throughout the Greater Lyon, recognized the talents of Peter in Étaix creating a retrospective Vive Pierre Étaix!.

In January 2010, he returned to the stage with his new show music hall Miousik Butterfly, which combines music and slapstick, it reappears in the guise of Yoyo, Bordeaux first and then in Lausanne and on tour in France.

November 16, 2011, a tribute is organized in his presence in Los Angeles by the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (Academy of Cinema Awards) at a party "Pierre Etaix: The Laughter Returns".

January 29, 2012, he received at the end of the Slapstick Festival, the price Aardman / Slapstick in Bristol; annual award for "exceptional excellence in the field of visual comedy."

In October 2012, he received the Jean Mitry Festival of Pordenone (Italy) and present in November in New York emerged from the integral of his films at the Film Forum receives a success with the press and the public. His films stand out in theaters in the US and Canada and are broadcast on the channel "Movie Classic". This is the American company The Criterion Collection that supports the distribution of its films on DVD and Blu-ray box set for the USA; she plans to release a box set of eight films (five feature films and three short films) in April 2013. Since late November 2012, found the track to the circus Joseph Bouglione in Chatou, with his legendary character Yoyo.

January 2013, he was promoted to the rank of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

June 2013, Pierre Etaix received the Grand Prize of the SACD (Society of Authors and Composers of Dramatic) rewarding the author for his entire career.

Filmography[edit]

As director[edit]


   1956 : Mon oncle de Jacques Tati -
   1959 : Pickpocket de Robert Bresson - un complice
   1960 : Tire-au-flanc 62 de Claude de Givray
   1961 : Rupture de Pierre Étaix
   1962 : Une grosse tête de Claude de Givray
   1962 : Le Pèlerinage de Jean L'Hôte
   1962 : Heureux anniversaire de Pierre Étaix
   1963 : Le Soupirant de Pierre Étaix - Pierre, le soupirant
   1964 : Yoyo de Pierre Étaix - Yoyo/The Millionaire
   1966 : Tant qu'on a la santé de Pierre Étaix
   1966 : Le Voleur de Louis Malle - Pickpocket
   1968 : Le Grand Amour de Pierre Étaix - Pierre
   1971 : Les Clowns de Federico Fellini -
   1972 : The Day the Clown Cried de Jerry Lewis
   1973 : Bel Ordure de Jean Marbœuf - Le clown blanc
   1974 : Sérieux comme le plaisir de Robert Benayoun - Le garçon d'étage
   1978 : Noctuor de Philippe Arthuys et Jean Jourdan
   1983 : La Métamorphose de Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe
   1985 : Max mon amour de Nagisa Oshima - Détective
   1987 : L'âge de monsieur est avancé de Pierre Étaix - L'auteur
   1987 : Nuit docile de Guy Gilles - SOS Armor
   1989 : Henry et June (Henry & June) de Philip Kaufman - L'ami d'Henry
   2006 : Jardins en automne de Otar Iosseliani
   2008 : Lucifer et moi de Jacques Grand-Jouan - lui-même
   2009: Micmacs à tire-larigot de Jean-Pierre Jeunet - L'inventeur des histoires drôles
   2010 : Chantrapas de Otar Iosseliani - Un producteur
   2011 : Le Havre de Aki Kaurismäki - Docteur Becker

Awards[edit]

DVD[edit]

The Criterion Collection released a box set of eight of the films by Pierre Étaix in DVD and Blu-ray format in April 2013.

References[edit]

External links[edit]