Jean Rochefort was an award-winning stage and screenwriter. He received several honors during his professional career, which included an Honorary Cesar trophy from the Cannes Film Festival in 1998. Known for his dramatic turns as Antoinette in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, he later appeared in “The Man Who Played With Light”. Jean Rochefort also worked as an acting coach with Roger Moore and David Bowie.
Jean Rochefort rose to stardom in the early twentieth century as a famous French actor, stage talent, and singer. Born as Louis-Remy Rivere in Avignon, France, Jean was raised to be an artist by his father, an artist who specialized in watercolors. Though not formally trained in painting, he pursued an art form in which he painted large-scale paintings using watercolors. It was this passion for art that would inspire Jean to create some of the most beloved movies of the Hollywood film industry, such as “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “A Little Lamb”. The role of Jean Rochefort in the film adaptation of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” catapulted him to stardom status, and his filmography would continue to enjoy high box office success for the next seven decades.
Another of Jean Rochefort’s early roles was in “Moulin Rouge”, which also hit theaters during the start of World War II. Though Rochefort’s performance was not particularly remarkable – it is undeniable that he captured the hearts of many moviegoers through this performance – his appearance in this film marked the beginning of his illustrious movie career. From that point forward, Jean Rochefort’s name became synonymous with movies that featured a unique French attitude, with characters who were courageous, romantic, and unique.
In addition to his role as Blaise Pascal in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Jean Rochefort also appeared in several other films during this period. “The Man Who Played With Death” and “Le Roi is” are two of the more notable of these films. “Le Roi bleu” also starred Yul Brynner as Blaise, and later Yul Brynner and Michael Caine would collaborate in” Crimes of the Night”. Though Jean-Paul Belmondo was well known throughout the 1930s, it was “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” that really catapulted him into stardom, as the movie included one of the first sex scenes between a man and a woman ever shown on a major Hollywood theater. The scene, involving the actress, Cleopatra Paxalli, and the French actor, Jean Rochefort, would cause a sensation with the public.
During the late thirties, Jean-Christophe Roussillon, best known for his roles in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, decided that it was time to make a film based on the novel. It was then that Jean-Christophe decided to star as Blaise Pascal, and also chose to begin work on a screenplay adaptation of Richard II. Though no movie was ever made from this book or the screenplay, it is generally believed that the Roussillon version of the story was the basis for the classic movie “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. When Jean-Christophe first decided to adopt “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, his only option was to begin work on a film version of “Aristides”.
In the early part of the decade, when the World War II was in full swing, “Aristides” was among the handful of movies released which showed the view that life goes on after tragedy. This view was popular among the artists of the time who often focused on French patriotism in their art. Many artists including Paul Gauguin, Pierre Balin, and Jean Baptiste Camille Corot created movies that showed Europe and France go through the hardship of war, yet moving on afterwards. Some of the most notable of these were “The Omen of Paris”, “The Paradise Lost”, and “The Old Man’s Wife”. Though all of these were considered contemporary classics, no film has achieved the status of “Aristides” as did the last one I mention before it.
After “Aristides”, Jean Rochefort produced a string of films that mainly dealt with the life of General le Cordon Bleu and his pursuit of renaissance arts. These were “A Woman in the Rain”, “The Mask of Fucoeur” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”. All of these films played a part in changing the way that movies were made and changed the way that people viewed art and cinema altogether. It is safe to say that no one would have stopped Jean Rochefort from becoming the greatest director that ever lived, if it weren’t for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
After that film, there was no turning back for Jean Rochefort. He wrote and directed four more films that all scored highly with audiences all across the world, including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” which is one of the best romantic comedies ever filmed. Of course, all of this is to be played purely for entertainment value, but some of the films are truly amazing in their own right. The great thing about Jean Rochefort is that no matter what type of film you’re going to see him in, you can rest assured that you’re likely to get something unique. For example, if you like thriller films you should check out some of his “North by North” trilogy, and if horror films you should definitely go see “The Dead Zone”.