Jean-louis Trintignant

Jean-louis Trintignant


Birth Place
Piolenc, Vaucluse, FR
December 11, 1930


Coolly cerebral and internal where French New Wave peers Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon leaned toward the physical and intense, Jean-Louis Trintignant enjoyed a five-decade career as an actor in some of arthouse cinema's most acclaimed films, from "And God Created Woman" (1956) and "A Man and a Woman" (1966) to "Z" (1969), "Three Colors: Red: (1994) and "Amour" (2012). His languid fe...

Family & Companions

Stephane Audran
Actor. Divorced.
Nadine Trintignant
Director, screenwriter. Married in 1960; divorced.


Coolly cerebral and internal where French New Wave peers Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon leaned toward the physical and intense, Jean-Louis Trintignant enjoyed a five-decade career as an actor in some of arthouse cinema's most acclaimed films, from "And God Created Woman" (1956) and "A Man and a Woman" (1966) to "Z" (1969), "Three Colors: Red: (1994) and "Amour" (2012). His languid features and economical performing style earmarked him for young romantics, which he personified in Claude Lelouch's international success "A Man and a Woman." But Trintignant resisted pigeonholing, preferring instead to play complicated, challenged figures on both sides of the law in dozens of political dramas and crime dramas during the late 1960s and early 1970s, most notably "The Conformist" (1970), as a faceless factotum who traded his basic values for social acceptance. His international profile faded in the 1980s, but he enjoyed returns to prominence with Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors: Red" (1994) and Michael Haneke's "Amour" (2012). Though never a major international star, Trintignant's vast and critically revered body of work made him one of the most respected actors of the 20th century on both sides of the pond.

Born Dec. 11, 1930 in the southeastern French commune of Piolenc, Jean-Louis Trintignant was the son of industrialist Raoul Trintignant and his wife, Claire, as well as the nephew of famed racecar drivers Louis and Maurice Trintignant. He relocated to Paris in 1950 to study drama before touring the country in various theater productions. Trintignant's first screen appearance came in the 1955 short "Pechineff," which was followed by supporting roles in features. His breakthrough came in Roger Vadim's "And God Created Woman" (1956), which cast him as the naïve young scion of a shipping family who succumbed to the charms of nubile waif Brigitte Bardot. An international success as well as a scandal for its frank sexuality, the film minted Trintignant as a star in the making, but his ascent was interrupted by mandatory military service, which took him away to Algiers. Upon his return from duty, Trintignant considered abandoning acting, but an offer to play Hamlet in Paris sparked his interest anew. From there, he played supporting and occasional lead roles for an impressive variety of top directors, including a reunion with Vadim for "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (1956), Abel Gance's historical epic "Austerlitz" (1960) and Georges Franju's "Spotlight on a Murderer" (1961).

The following year, he enjoyed a major Continental hit with "La Sorpresso" ("The Easy Life," 1962), a male-bonding drama with Vittorio Gassman that spawned a sequel, "Il Successo," in 1963. The next few years offered Trintignant steady if unremarkable work until 1965's "The Sleeping Car Murders," which marked the beginning of his collaborations with Greek director Costa Gavras. The following year, he rocketed to international stardom with Claude Lelouch's "A Man and a Woman" (1966). Trintignant drew on his family's racing experience to play a Les Mans driver grieving the loss of his wife from suicide who entered into a hesitating relationship with widow Anouk Aimée. The deeply moving romance won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, among numerous other honors, and claimed the highest box office gross for any French film in the international market. More importantly, it marked Trintignant as a leading man whose wounded heart was the core of his appeal.

Trintignant avoided mass-market film projects for the next few years, preferring more eclectic fare like Claude Chabrol's "Les Biches" (1968), which cast him as the focal point of a love triangle with Stephane Audran, who was Trintignant's first wife prior to their divorce, after which she married Chabrol in 1964, and Jacqueline Sassard. More offbeat projects like the psychedelic Italian thriller "Death Laid an Egg" (1968), the spaghetti Western "The Great Silence" (1968), which cast him as a mute gunslinger, and Pasquale Festa Campanile's erotic drama "The Libertine" (1969), which helped to replace his romantic leading man identity with a more ambiguously moral screen persona which would soon come to define many of his screen roles. An exception to this new role came with "Z" (1969), his third collaboration with Costa-Gavras, who cast him as a Greek magistrate investigating the assassination of a politician (Yves Montand) by a military junta. The Oscar-nominated film not only provided Trintignant with his third international hit, but also the Best Actor prize from the 1969 Cannes Film Festival.

But for much of the 1970s, Trintignant worked in darker territory, again for some of the best directors in the world. He reaped widespread critical acclaim as a bureaucrat in Mussolini's government who sacrificed his values and identity to gain a normal life in Bernardo Bertolucci's hit "The Conformist" (1970), then played icy criminals in Lelouch's "Le Voyou" ("The Crook") (1970) and Jacques Deray's "The Outside Man" (1973), which provided him with a rare opportunity to film in America. Philippe Labro's "Sans Mobile Apparent" ("Without Apparent Motive") (1971) cast him as a police detective with intimate connections to a series of violent, seemingly unrelated murders, while "The Train" paired him with Romy Schneider as a Frenchman who fell for a German Jew fleeing the Nazis, respectively. Trintignant also made his directorial debut that same year with "Une Journee bien remplie" (1973), about a baker who dispatched the jurors who sentenced his son to execution.

Trintignant's characters grew more malefic as the decade progressed, from a rapist in "Love at the Top" (1974) to a killer in the thriller "Flic Story" ("Cop Story") (1975), though fewer of these efforts made it to American theaters. He enjoyed a comeback in 1978 with the Cesar-winning "L'argent des autres," in which he played a bank official framed by his superiors for a scandal. He then settled into an exceptionally prolific period of film appearances that included "Confidentially Yours" (1983), the final directorial effort for Francois Truffaut, and his first English-language film, "Under Fire" (1983). Trintignant reunited with Lelouch and Anouk Aimée for "A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later" (1986), though the results failed to recapture the magic of the original. He returned to minor films until 1994's "Three Colors: Red" (1994), the final film in director Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors" trilogy, as well as the final screen effort prior to his death in 1996. Trintignant received considerable praise for his work in the film as a retired judge who eavesdropped on his neighbors. After playing an elderly version of Mathieu Kassovitz's character in the equally well-regarded "A Self Made Hero" (1996), Trintignant reduced his screen appearances to concentrate on theater work. He subsequently suffered a tremendous personal tragedy in 2003 when French singer Bertrand Cantat killed his daughter, actress Marie Trintignant, in a hotel room in Lithuania. He returned to film acting at the age of 81 as a retired music teacher whose wife (Emmanuelle Riva) suffered a debilitating stroke in director Michael Haneke's "Amour" (2012). The film claimed numerous European film awards, including the Palme d'Or from the 65th Cannes Film Festival, while Trintignant received a Best Actor nomination from the European Film Awards.

By Paul Gaita



Director (Feature Film)

Le Maitre-Nageur (1979)
Une Journee bleu remplie (1972)

Cast (Feature Film)

Happy End (2017)
L' Instinct de l'Ange (2008)
The Colonel
Words In Progress (2004)
Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train (1998)
Tykho Moon (1997)
Les Menteurs (1996)
A Self-Made Hero (1996)
Albert Dehousse (Old)
Fiesta (1995)
The City of Lost Children (1995)
Voice Of Irvin
Regarde les hommes tomber (1994)
Red (1994)
Joseph Kern
Merci, la vie (1991)
Bunker Palace Hotel (1989)
La Vallee fantome (1987)
Le Moustachu (1987)
Rendez-vous (1987)
L' Ete Prochain (1986)
La Femme de ma vie (1986)
A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later (1986)
Femmes de personne (1986)
Quinze Aout (1986)
L' Homme aux yeux d'argent (1985)
Inspector Mayene
Viva la Vie! (1984)
Partir Revenir (1984)
Surtuz Egy Fekete Bivalyert (1984)
Le Bon Plaisir (1983)
La Crime (1983)
Christian Lacassagne
Confidentially Yours (1983)
Under Fire (1983)
La Nuit de Varennes (1982)
Monsieur Sauce
A Blow to the Heart (1982)
Eaux Profondes (1981)
Vic Allen
Passione d'amore (1981)
Le Grand Pardon (1981)
Une Affaire d'Hommes (1981)
I Love You (1980)
La Banquiere (1980)
La Terrazza (1979)
Le Maitre-Nageur (1979)
Melancolie Baby (1979)
Faces of Love (1978)
L' Argent des autres (1978)
Henri Rainier
Reperages (1977)
Les Passagers (1977)
Voyage de Noces Le (1976)
La Donna Della Domenica (1976)
Le Desert des tartares (1976)
L' Ordinateur des pompes funebres (1976)
Le Jeu avec le feu (1975)
Il Pleut sur Santiago (1975)
Flic Story (1975)
Le Mouton Enrage (1974)
Le Secret (1974)
L' Agression (1974)
The Outside Man (1973)
Le Train (1973)
L' Escapade (1973)
Les Violons du Bal (1973)
Defense de savoir (1973)
And Hope to Die (1972)
Tony, also known as Froggy
L' Attentat (1972)
The French Conspiracy (1972)
Without Apparent Motive (1971)
The Man Who Lies (1970)
Boris Varissa
My Night at Maud's (1970)
The Conformist (1970)
Deadly Sweet (1969)
Plucked (1969)
The Libertine (1969)
Dr. De Marchi
Z (1969)
The Magistrate
Les biches (1968)
Paul Thomas
Trans-Europ-Express (1968)
Grande silenzio, Il (1968)
Journey Beneath the Desert (1967)
Mata Hari, Agent H-21 (1967)
Capt. François Lassalle
Is Paris Burning? (1966)
A Man and a Woman (1966)
Jean-Louis Duroc
The Sleeping Car Murder (1966)
Il successo (1965)
Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1964)
Seven Capital Sins (1963)
The French Game (1963)
The Easy Life (1963)
Roberto Mariani
Le combat dans l'ile (1962)
Violent Summer (1961)
Les liaisons dangereuses (1961)
Spotlight On Murder (1961)
Violent Summer (1960)
Carlo Romanazzi
Austerlitz (1960)
And God Created Woman (1956)
Michel Tardieu

Writer (Feature Film)

Le Maitre-Nageur (1979)
Une Journee bleu remplie (1972)

Life Events


Made theater debut in "To Each According to His Hunger"


Film debut, "If All the Guys in the World..."


Breakthrough film role, acting opposite Brigitte Bardot in "And God Created Woman" from director Roger Vadim


Rediscovered in film, "Un Homme et une Femme/A Man and a Woman" directed by Claude Lelouch


Credited as dialogue collaborator in Bernardo Bertolucci's "Last Tango in Paris"


Directorial debut, "Une journée bien remplie ou Neuf meurtres insolites dans une même journée par un seul homme dont ce n'est pas le métier"; also co-wrote with Vincenzo Labella


First English language film, "Under Fire" opposite Nick Nolte and Gene Hackman


Starred in François Truffaut's final film "Confidentially Yours"


Reprised role in "A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later," again directed by Claude Lelouch


Starred in "Red" the third part of Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Three Colors Trilogy"; film was also director's last film


Played dual roles in "Ceux qui m'aiment prendront le train/Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train"


Appeared in French comedy "Janis and John"


Co-starred with Emmanuelle Riva as an elderly couple whose relationship is tested in "Amour"


Movie Clip

Red (1994) -- (Movie Clip) I Don't Have A Daughter With the dog she's just hit in the back of her car, Valentine (Irene Jacob) arrives at the home of Judge Kern (Jean-Louis Trintignant, his first scene), who can't be bothered, in Krzysztof Kieslowski's Red, 1994.
And God Created Woman (1956) -- (Movie Clip) It's All She Wants Cocksure eldest brother Antoine (Christian Marquand) has found Juliette (Brigitte Bardot) at the town dance, his brothers Christian (Georges Poujouly) and Michel (Jean-Louis Trintignant) annoyed, early in And God Created Woman, 1956.
Z -- (1969) -- (Movie Clip) A Blow Struck To The Head Widow Helene (Irene Papas) and "the journalist" (Jacques Perrin) observe crowds mourning "the deputy" with the "Z" symbol, as "the prosecutor" (Jean-Louis Trintignant) gets an autopsy report, in Costa-Gavras' Z, 1969.
My Night At Maud's (1969) -- (Movie Clip) Lord, I Am Unworthy We know little about Jean-Louis Trintignant’s character, Jean-Louis, except that he seems to be a bachelor and he’s gone to church (at the Cathedral in Clermont-Ferrand, France), where he sees a blonde (Marie-Christine Barrault) he’s never met, early in My Night At Maud’s, 1969, the international hit and third film in Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales.
My Night At Maud's (1969) -- (Movie Clip) That Way To Unthinking Belief Visiting professor “Jean-Louis” (Trintignant) on a quiet Christmas-time social evening in Clermont-Ferrand, sees the girl from church (Marie-Christine Barrault) again, then runs into an old friend, a fellow academic, Vidal (Antoine Vitez), in Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s, 1969.
My Night At Maud's (1969) -- (Movie Clip) Two Cases Of Protracted Adolescence At the shank of their impromptu social evening, it sounds like professor Vidal (Antoine Vitez) and old pal Jean-Louis (Trintignant) won’t be going to see his friend Maud (Francoise Fabian), but they do, thus creating the central premise in director Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s, 1969.
My Night At Maud's (1969) -- (Movie Clip) It's Better That Things Be Impossible The friend who brought them together has just left, and divorceè Maud (Francoise Fabian) is persuading bachelor Jean-Louis (Trintignant) to stick around, beginning the conversation that occupies most of the film, in Eric Rohmer’s My Night At Maud’s, 1969, the third title in his Six Moral Tales.
Confidentially Yours (1983) -- (Movie Clip) Don't Be So Nasty The opening of Francois Truffaut's final feature, Jean-Louis Tringtignant in a duck blind, and Fanny Ardant, Truffaut's companion at the time, as his secretary, headed to work in a generic French city, from Confidentially Yours, 1983.
Confidentially Yours (1983) -- (Movie Clip) I Know All About Jealousy Realtor Vercel (Jean-Louis Trintignant) has just told the cops he knows nothing of a shooting we saw him commit, when he takes a call, then we join Barbara (Fanny Ardant), the secretary he just fired, rehearsing Victor Hugo's "King Fun," in Francois Truffaut's Confidentially Yours, 1983.
Confidentially Yours (1983) -- (Movie Clip) She's Already Dead Vercel (Jean-Louis Trintignant), already suspected of one killing, grabs Barbara (Fanny Ardant), the secretary he just fired, at her rehearsal, panicked because of what he found in a scene director Francois Truffaut now re-plays, this time adding another murder, in Confidentially Yours, 1983.
Le Combat Dans L'Ile (1962) -- (Movie Clip) Power Must Be Seized A big reveal here, as narration begins explaining what Clement (Jean-Louis Trintignant) has been doing smuggling a bazooka around Paris, meeting with comrades led by Serge (Pierre Asso), in director Alain Cavalier's New Wave inflected political thriller Le Combat Dans L'Ile, 1962.
Le Combat Dans L'Ile (1962) -- (Movie Clip) A Weapon Of War Arising in Paris after an intense, boozy night out, singer Anne (Romy Schneider), with the maid, discovers a bazooka in the closet, which her husband Clement (Jean-Louis Trintignant), returning from a meeting with his industrialist father, feels little need to explain, in Le Combat Dans L'Ile , 1962.


Marie Trintignant
Actor. Born on JAnuary 21, 1962; mother, Nadine Trintignant.
Vincent Trintignant


Stephane Audran
Actor. Divorced.
Nadine Trintignant
Director, screenwriter. Married in 1960; divorced.