Entertainment

Jean-Claude Carrière or the insolent charm of the screenwriters’ Cyrano


The cinema storyteller will have lent his pen to Luis Bunuel (The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie), Jacques Deray (The swimming pool) and of course to Jean-Paul Rappeneau (Cyrano de Bergerac).

He will have let run all his life a discreet pen of a great screenwriter. Jean-Claude Carrière never had his name engraved in huge letters on the pediments of cinemas. But this parterre of great directors such as Luis Bunuel, Louis Malle, Jacques Deray, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Milos Forman and many others have used his talents as a storyteller without counting the cost. The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, The Diary of a Chambermaid, The swimming pool, Borsalino, Belle of the Day, Cyrano de Bergerac, on the big screen, it was all him.

The definition given by the Larousse of a screenplay says it all about Jean-Claude Carrière’s talent: canvas, scene-by-scene shot of a film or a play. An adapter, obviously a screenwriter, but also a dialogue writer for more than eighty feature films, Carrière defined himself as a storyteller. His loose mind was able to adapt literature to the seventh art. He attacked the greatest: Joseph Kessel with Belle of the Day directed by Bunuel; Choderlos de Laclos and his Dangerous Liaisons for the Valmont by Milos Forman; Milan Kundera and his Unbearable lightness of being for the film adaptation signed Philip Kaufman; without forgetting Marcel Proust and A Swann Love directed by Volker Schlöndorff.

Passionate about his art, Jean-Claude Carrière explained the meticulous work that preceded the final dialogue version of the films he had to script. He said that with Luis Bunuel they had lunched together more than two thousand times. Pen or pencil in hand, they played and replayed the scenes they had written, never tiring themselves until they found “the perfect rhythm”. Perfectionists, they imagined that two average spectators, whom they called Henri and Georgette, judged the accuracy of their lines. If one of the two fictitious critics, dissatisfied, threatened to leave them, Bunuel and he immediately got back to work.

Caesar 1983 for writing the Return of Martin Guerre, Honorary Cesar in 2015 for all his work as a screenwriter, his work as a “storyteller” will also be crowned with an honorary Oscar the same year. The discreet charm (and insolent talent) of Jean-Claude Carrière had succeeded in conquering Hollywood.

Of a Diary of a Chambermaid at Hussar on the Roof Passing by Cyrano de Bergerac, Le Figaro presents, below, an anthology of scenarios by Jean-Claude Carrière.

The Diary of a Chambermaid in 1964 by Luis Bunuel, screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, with Jeanne Moreau, Georges Géret, Michel Piccoli …

Belle of the Day by Luis Bunuel in 1967, screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, with Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel …

The swimming pool by Jacques Deray in 1969, screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, with Romy Schneider, Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet …

Borsalino by Jacques Deray in 1970, screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, with Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Nicole Calfan …

The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie by Luis Bunuel in 1972, screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, with Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig …

The Return of Martin Guerre by Daniel Vigne in 1982, Screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, with Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye …

Cyrano de Bergerac by Jean-Paul Rappeneau in 1990, with Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet, Vincent Perez …

The Hussar on the Roof by Jean-Paul Rappeneau in 1995, screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière, with Juliette Binoche, Olivier Martinez …

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