how Jean-Pierre Melville created the parable | EUROtoday

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“Mnow, for each, it’s good to take a step again. He must work with different actors, and I must work elsewhere. In a while maybe, in just a few years, I hope that we’ll meet once more and that we can do very lovely issues for the spectator. » When Alain Delon gave this interview in 1973, the director Jean-Pierre Melville, who provided him three of probably the most lovely roles of his profession, in the Samurai, The Red Circle And A cop, has been useless for a month already. But for the actor, it's as if time had remained suspended.

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“It’s the test of denial, it’s a Delon unknown to the general public, the mystical Delon who heals his wounds,” says Laurent Galinon, creator and director of the documentary devoted to the sacred duo Delon-Melville, broadcast this Saturday February 24 at 7:55 p.m. on Ciné+. On August 2, 1973, Jean-Pierre Melville (born Grumbach) suffered a coronary heart assault throughout a dinner in a Parisian restaurant with associates. Alain Delon, then filming within the south of France, heads to the closest airport to take a helicopter from his manufacturing. He needs to be at his pal's bedside as shortly as attainable. But the climate forbids him: he jumps in his automobile and crosses France, at evening, with out stopping.

Upon studying of Melville's dying, Delon was struck by lightning

Rémy Grumbach, nephew of the director who marked the Sixties together with his darkish thrillers, recounts the scene of Delon's arrival on the rue Jenner studios, in 13e borough. “He appears in his raincoat. Upon learning of Jean-Pierre's death, he collapses in front of the door, as if struck by lightning. For hours he stays in front of the door. The visitors step over it without knowing that it is Delon. »

This story shocked Laurent Galinon, film journalist and author in 2022 of Delon in chiaroscuro (published by Mareuil), to the point of making it the opening of his documentary: “It reveals an extraordinary friendship between two men who have a sense of fate and an exacerbated relationship with death. She also gives extra soul to Delon. »

That night, the 38-year-old actor just lost more than his favorite director. A brother, a father, a double. When Jean-Pierre Melville offered him the role of hitman Jeff Costello, in the Samurai in 1967, the actor's popularity was well established. In Full Sun, Rocco and his brothers And Cheetah, her solar beauty left an impression on the public. Just like his romance with Romy Schneider.

As Laurent Galinon explains, Melville will reveal it to himself. “Delon didn’t want yet another hunky role. For the Samurai, Melville found the death instinct that he carried within him. » In the refined settings and the blue lights of the director's studios, the instinctive Delon reveals himself, dark, silent, solitary. “From this film, the actor will be overcome by his own mythology, by his black sun,” he provides.

Until then, their story consisted of failed dates. Alain Delon had refused Army of Shadows to dedicate himself to his Hollywood profession – which finally solely lasted 9 months. But, after René Clément and Luciano Visconti, he seemed for a brand new mentor, and located in Jean-Pierre Melville a religious father in cinema. “Our relationship is so strong that everything is disconcertingly easy during filming,” confides the actor in an archive. The artist is the fantasy double of his director. Fascinated by Delon's “bad boy” aspect, he even desires of accompanying his actor to 36 Quai des Orfèvres through the Markovic affair (named after his factotum discovered murdered in 1968).

“They’re pissing off the world!” »

In the documentary, these near Melville, his nephew Rémy Grumbach, the novelist Philippe Labro and the journalist Éric Neuhoff underline a standard level between the filmmaker and his “muse”: “they both piss off the world!” “. Great admirers of General de Gaulle – Delon collected writings and photos – they shared the experience of the war. In Indochina for Alain Delon, who had thus fled his family, in Africa and Italy with the Free French forces for Jean-Pierre Grumbach (who chose the pseudonym Melville in the resistance in homage to Herman Melville, the author of Moby-Dick).

Screenwriter and writer Bernard Stora, assistant director on The Red Circle in 1970, recalls Delon's great loyalty. “When Gian Maria Volontè abruptly leaves the set after Melville loses his temper, which was far from easy, Delon catches him at the airport,” and saves the film. Delon, for his part, makes neither scandal nor diva-like whim. “With Melville, the Delon beast is domesticated. The actor blends entirely into the director's world. It was a meeting planned by destiny. They are so close that, on set, they don’t even need to talk to each other,” insists Laurent Galinon.

Alain Delon protects Melville's widow

But Melville will not support his favorite actor's desire for emancipation. Jean-François Delon, brother of the actor and assistant director on A cop, the duo's last collaboration, remembers: “Your brother is no longer with me, he is with the other,” Melville confided to him, like a deceived wife. Delon plans to tour again in Italy.

Businessman, producer, his profession is now with out his mentor. They gained't see one another anymore. “It remained a burden,” says Jean-François Delon in entrance of the digital camera. He would have favored to restore these wasted years. » With Mireille Darc, Alain will welcome Melville's widow to Douchy and can make sure the safety of her monetary pursuits. “The word given is the basis of Delon’s code of honor,” remembers journalist Laurent Galinon.

Philippe Labro remembers the disappointment of his pal throughout a personal screening of Samurai in mastered model. “He grabbed my arm. I felt that Melville was still alive in him and he told me: “I know that when I die the newspapers will headline The Samurai is Dead.” » An epitaph which rings unusually at a time when Alain Delon, 88 years outdated, on the coronary heart of household conflicts, seems repeatedly in nice solitude.