The lost, Saint Laurent, Just the end of the world… Back in pictures on the career of Gaspard Ulliel

With his dimple and his icy blue eyes, he will have marked French cinema since his role as Manech Langonnet, known as “The blueberry” in A long engagement Sunday by Jean-Pierre Jeunet for whom he won his first César. That of a great hope who had been able to confirm through a rich and chosen filmography.

Yes, he was the most handsome fiancé of French cinema. Gaspard Ulliel, who died at the age of 37 following a serious skiing accident, was used to roles that were, if not dramatic, at least quite serious. But we keep a bright smile from him. And that left cheek with a dimple in it. The first time a director films him under his best profile, this native of Boulogne-Billancourt is still in college. He is twelve years old and appears alongside Sandrine Bonnaire in an episode ofA woman in white, a medical series like we don’t make anymore.

The cinema spotted him a little later. He landed a small role in The Pact of the Wolves by Christophe Gans and in Kiss whoever you want by Michel Blanc in the early 2000s. But it was André Téchiné who gave him his first major role in 2003 in The Lost. A strange teenager with a shaved head, a little dodgy around the edges, but very resourceful under the Occupation, he saves Emmanuelle Béart and becomes her lover. He is already cultivating mystery in this elegy adapted from a book by Gilles Perrault that the critics certainly find a little classic but of a disturbing beauty. The expression perfectly suits Ulliel who begins his career as a seducer and wins his second César nomination as best male hope.

A trophy he obtained a year later in A long engagement Sunday by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Another adaptation, this time from a book by Sébastien Japrisot, and once again the actor finds a role as a mad young dog drunk with love in the depths of the horror of the battlefields of the Great War.

Subscriber to historical films, he turns in the remake of Jacquou le Croquant before starting an international career in Hannibal Lecter: The Origins of Evil, a film intended to relaunch the film franchise around the cannibal murderer created by Thomas Harris. Oh sure, he doesn’t physically resemble Anthony Hopkins, but he manages to capture the perverse soul of the serial killer.

In The Princess of Montpensier by Bertrand Tavernier, it is in the shoes of Henri de Lorraine, Duke of Guise, that the actor remembers the good memories of the French public. Presented in 2010 at Cannes, this romantic film leaves empty-handed. Mélanie Thierry cannot resist the charm of the one we nicknamed “the scarred one”.

Four years later, Gaspard Ulliel plays Yves Saint Laurent for Bertrand Bonello. Just like Pierre Niney in front of Jalil Lespert’s camera. A competition settles between them and in spite of them. Ulliel wins the Lumières award for cinema. The foreign press hailed his performance, as did French critics, for having made the light of a French genius burst into the abyss of darkness. It shows all the ambivalences of the couturier but it will be Pierre Niney, that year, who will come to receive his César for best actor.

This depth, this ability to make a monster live in him appeals to Xavier Dolan. The Quebec director offers him the main role of Just the end of the world. Gaspard Ulliel plays a young writer who finds his family after twelve years of absence to announce his impending death. A curious way to catch up with time … A role for which he won the César for best actor in 2016.

Guillaume Nicloux also sees in him this actor capable of expressing unspeakable pain in a single look. This will be Gaspard Ulliel’s last war, that of Indochina. In At the ends of the world, he plays a soldier haunted by the idea of ​​avenging his brother. His best role for our colleague Éric Neuhoff. It appears there “inhabited, struggling against his inner enemies, contemplating the void”. A void he has left since his tragic death.


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