11 February, 2009
Jacques Perrin is a French actor and filmmaker. He is occasionally credited as Jacques Simonet. Simonet was his father's name and Perrin his mother's.
His father, Alexandre Simonet, was a theatre director. Perrin was trained as an actor at the Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique de Paris.
He was given his first juvenile film roles by Italian director Valerio Zurlini. He also gave over 400 performances of L'Année du bac on the Paris stage.
He played opposite Claudia Cardinale in the romantic comedy La Ragazza con la valigia and played the younger brother in Family Diary with Marcello Mastroianni, both under the direction of Zurlini. He was also the adult Salvatore in the international hit Cinema Paradiso.
He won two Best Actor awards at the Venice Film Festival in 1966 for the Italian film Almost a Man and the Spanish film The Search.
At 27, he created a studio and filmed the internationally acclaimed Z, which was directed by Costa Gavras and starred Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, and Irene Papas. Z received an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1969. Perrin was both co-producer and actor in the film.
He collaborated with Costa Gavras again in État de Siège (State of Siege) in 1973 and Section spéciale in 1975. All of these films had political themes, and Perrin continued this trend with a documentary on the Algerian uprising (La guerre d'Algérie) and a film on the Chilean presidency of Salvador Allende (La Spirale).
Perrin produced another Oscar-winning film in 1976: La Victoire en Chantant (Black and White in Color) by legendary director Jean-Jacques Annaud. In 1977, he embarked on Le Désert des Tartares, again starring Trintignant. The cast included such big-name actors as Max von Sydow, but was not very successful and left Perrin with debts (although it did win the Grand Prix du Cinéma Français).
His recent successes have been the animal films Microcosmos and Le Peuple Migrateur (Winged Migration), which were both filmed by his studio Galatée Films.
He also played the role of the old Pierre Morhange, narrator of the very internationally successful film The Chorus, that he also produced. The young Pépinot was played by his younger son Maxence.