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Jean-Louis Barrault

Jean-Louis Barrault

Barrault's most brilliant film performance--and certainly his best remembered--was in the leading role of Marcel Carne's superb "Les Enfants du Paradis/Children of Paradise" (1945), playing a mime whose love goes largely unrequited in this moving and graceful meditation on performance. Barrault's sensitivity was also very well utilized when he played Hector Berlioz in Christian-Jaque's fine, music-filled biopic, "La symphonie fantastique" (1942). His film work was less frequent after the early 1950s but in later years included the English-language film "Chappaqua" (1966), where he rose above the film's groovy antics, and Ettore Scola's fine "La Nuit de Varennes/That Night at Varennes" (1982), where he performed, with his usual aplomb, as a randy writer during the French Revolution. Barrault's death in early 1994 was a national event in France, where he was justly acclaimed as one of the finest actors of the century. His wife was celebrated actress and stage company co-founder Madeleine Renaud and his niece was actress Marie-Christine Barrault.
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