7 January 1938|
|Died||16 April 1997
|Occupation||Designer, painter, fiction writer, actor|
|Notable work(s)||The Tenant|
Roland Topor (January 7, 1938 – April 16, 1997), was a French illustrator, painter, writer, filmmaker and actor, known for the surreal nature of his work. He was of Polish Jewish origin and spent the early years of his life in Savoy where his family hid him from the Nazi peril.
Roland Topor wrote the novel The Tenant (Le Locataire chimérique, 1964), which was adapted to film by Roman Polanski in 1976. The Tenant is the story of a Parisian of Polish descent, a chilling exploration of alienation and identity, asking disturbing questions about how we define ourselves. The later novel Joko's Anniversary (1969), another fable about loss of identity, is a vicious satire on social conformity.
A new presentation of The Tenant by Roland Topor was released in October, 2006. The book has Topor's original novel, a new introduction by Thomas Ligotti, a selection of short stories by Topor, a representation of Topor's artwork and an essay on the famous Roman Polanski film version. There is a working possibility of having Mr. Polanski write a new foreword to this edition.
Thomas Ligotti's introduction clocks in at 3500 words and concerns the affirmative themes of world-renowned authors, focusing on Luigi Pirandello, with the negationist themes of Roland Topor's The Tenant.
Topor also worked as an actor, his most famous part being Renfield in Werner Herzog's Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979). In the same year, he also performed the surrealistic paralyzed boss in the movie Ratataplan by Maurizio Nichetti.
Topor published several books of drawings, including Dessins panique (1965) Quatre roses pour Lucienne (1967) and Toporland (1975). Selections from Quatre roses pour Lucienne were reprinted in the English language collection Stories and Drawings (1967). His carefully detailed, realistic style, with elaborate crosshatching, emphasises the fantastic and macabre subject matter of the images.
1961 to 1965 – Contributes to French satirical magazine Hara-Kiri.
1966 – Illustrates Daniel Spoerri's An Anecdoted Topography of Chance (Re-Anecdoted Version) published by the Something Else Press.
1989 – With Henri Xhonneux co-writes the screenplay for the film Marquis, loosely based on the life and writings of Marquis de Sade. The cast consisted of actors in period costumes with animal masks, with a separate puppet for de Sade's anthropomorphised "bodily appendage."
- Roland Topor at the Internet Movie Database
- Roland Topor on Myspace
- Covers of works by professor Gilles Methel an his student Marijan Rubesa from E.S.A.V./Université Toulouse II le Mirail
- The Very Rich Blog of Frantz Vaillant (in French)
- An interview (in French) with Daniel Colagrossi about his then-recent book Topor traits