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October 13, 2008


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Scott Lemieux

Sad; I didn't see enough of his films but he was marvelous in Lengelais.

Patrick Z. McGavin

At the press conference of Ne touchez pas la hache at Berlin last year, Jacques Rivette spoke admirably and brilliantly about Guillaume Depardieu. Rivette said it was seeing Pola X that spurred him to approach Guillaume and offer him any project he could conceive. Rivette said he knew he wanted to work with Jeanne Balibar but he needed a strong, compelling actor to play off of her. Some films mark a triumph of casting over aesthetics. In the best films, actors bring a density and power to the work that elevates the material into something sublime, special. Finally, how unspeakably sad that two of the great actors of contemporary French cinema, Guillaume and Marie Trintignant, are gone so young.


Strange - in that way that young death makes everything seem strange - that Trintignant and Depardieu appeared together in 1993's "Cible émouvante", along with the now-78-year-old Jean Rochefort, and only the latter of the trio is still with us. A nice little film to remember them by, too, for what it's worth.

Gary the Grammarian

I don't understand your use of clauses concerning this chain of events:

1) he had to have one of his legs amputated in 2003 because of the accident that
2) he had in 1995

and then after the accident he:

3) starred in Pola X, which came out in 1999

Why not just say that he had a motorcycle accident in 1995, was back on a bike for 1999's Pola X, and then, in 2003, had one of his legs amputated because of wounds stemming from the accident?

I know, I know: 'Hey Gary the Grammarian, go f*^% yourself, I'm trying to play with linearity, jumble stuff up, makes it more interesting that way.'

Just trying to help.

Glenn Kenny

I wasn't trying to play with linearity, or make anything more "Interesting." What happened to the poor guy was "interesting" enough. I was just trying to get across the weirdness of it—injured 1995, speeding around on a bike again in '98 or so, and legless in '03...as a result of what happened in '95.

But you can go f**% yourself anyway.



Here's hoping his untimely and terribly abrupt death will accelerate the distribution of PROCESS:


Paul C.

One of the most fascinating aspects of NE TOUCHEZ PAS LA HACHE was the way Rivette didn't even try to hide the fact that Depardieu had lost his leg. The most obvious example is the early shot in which G.D. is walking down stairs and he misses one with his prostethic, and he just keeps walking like it's nothing new to him. But even more striking to me was how his gait played out on the soundtrack in the scenes at Balibar's house, creaking against the hardwood floors, making his presence unmistakable in comparison to her almost silent footfalls. Says everything about the difference between the two characters without ever drawing attention to itself.

R.I.P. Guillaume.


Beautiful, touching post.

Andrew Wyatt

I'm in the minority here: I found "Ne touchez pas la hache" to be a dreary, unstimulating failure. I blame Rivette, however, not Depardieu, who gave a sharp performance as Armand. (In my review I referred to his "flair for conveying Armand’s strange blend of longing and loutishness.") It was a portrayal that piqued me, despite my irritation with the film, and encouraged me to dig deeper into Depardieu's career. Now to hear about this tragedy... Such a shame. As with any actor of talent who passes, the best way we can honor Depardieu is to evangelize on behalf of his work.


I know this has come out so long ago, but just learning of it today. It's tragic, especially since he died so young. RIP

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