Jean-Pierre Bacri, the French actor and screenwriter known for his collaborations with Agnès Jaoui, has died at the age of 69. He died after a battle with cancer according to multiple French reports which cited his agent Anne Alvares-Correa.
Bacri broke out on the stage and screen in the 1980s, including appearing in Luc Besson’s 1985 thriller Subway alongside Isabelle Adjani and Christopher Lambert. It was in that decade that he also first met Jaoui, and the pair would go on to have a vibrant creative partnership that spanned films including the multi-Cesar Award-winning Smoking / No Smoking, Family Resemblances and The Taste Of Others, with the latter also nominated for the foreign language film Oscar in 2001.
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The duo’s work for the stage was also highly regarded, with their play Cuisine Et Dépendances winning then a Molière Award before they adapted it for the big screen. Their writing also won prizes at Cannes and the European Film Awards.
On screen, Bacri was known for playing gruff characters, albeit usually with a touch of humanity. “In my eyes, I’ve always played different roles. Afterwards, I’m not a smiling guy and what I am, like my way of seeing life, comes across the screen. Perky things don’t interest me, I prefer antiheroes,” he told Le Parisien in a 2017 interview.
Tributes for Bacri arrived on Twitter, including from Cannes president Pierre Lescure and French president Emmanuel Macron:
Le goût de la vie…
Le sens de la vie …
L’extrême dignité , au bout du chemin…
— Pierre Lescure (@pierrelescure) January 18, 2021
Il avait le sens de la fête et le goût des autres. Jean-Pierre Bacri, le plus tendre de nos râleurs s’en est allé.
Comme une image, son humanité laconique et sensible continuera de peupler nos vies. pic.twitter.com/lq8TCgR5Vh
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 18, 2021