The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Jean-Pierre Léaud Day



‘Jean-Pierre Léaud is anti-documentary, with a mere greeting we slide into fiction, if not science fiction. His realism is the same as that of dreams.— Francois Truffaut

‘If the French New Wave has a face, it might be the beaky, piercing-eyed visage of Jean-Pierre Léaud. In 1959, at age fifteen, Léaud made his debut as Antoine Doinel in François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows; over the next two decades, he would play alter ego not only to Truffaut, but to a generation that grew up (or failed to) in parallel with him. For Jean-Luc Godard, he was one of the “children of Marx and Coca-Cola” in films like Masculine Feminine (1966) and La Chinoise (1967). Later, Léaud worked with Jacques Rivette in the epic Out 1 (1972) and stalked through the wreckage of the late-sixties dream in Jean Eustache’s anti-epic The Mother and the Whore (1973), a film and a performance that obliterate sentimentality. The effect of all these collaborations is cumulative: when Léaud appears in a film by Aki Kaurismäki or Olivier Assayas, his history appears with him.

‘When Italo Calvino wrote his lecture on lightness for Six Memos for the Next Millennium, he described a scene from Ovid’s Metamorphoses in which Perseus, carrying Medusa’s head, puts it down for a moment, resting it on a bed of coral. It’s the importance of both Perseus’ gesture and Ovid’s observation of it that Calvino draws our attention to.

‘In a less dramatic sense, thinking about Jean-Pierre Léaud inevitably involves thinking about gestures. Few actors carry with them such a clear, familiar repertoire of gestures, movements, ways of speaking, declaiming. There’s one gesture, above all – an emphatic movement of the hand, the forefinger jabbing the air, making a point – which first registers, briefly, in Les 400 Coups. There’s another with the left hand, palm open, used more often to indicate denial, the negative.

You could compile a field guide to Léaud. The smoothing back of the hair. The blink. A look, eyes glazed, concentrated, staring into a space immediately in front of him. A purposeful way of walking, leaning forward, in profile, crossing the screen from one side to the other that is Roadrunner-like in its single-minded determination. These gestures have a strange life of their own, a characteristic pace and rhythm: sometimes a somnambulistic quality, sometimes incorporated into a frantic routine, a demonstration of Léaud as an accomplished physical comedian.

‘Manny Farber, writing of Le Départ (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1966), in a review of the New York Film Festival, said that Léaud was “the only one that could be remembered with any clarity, with any sense of a physical impact coming from the screen.” Farber made some brief, vivid observations of Léaud’s performance as a hairdresser with an automotive obsession. “With his crimped manner, a darkly impassioned face, and intensely clear definition of some vigorous act that makes him suggest a pair of scissors gone angrily out of control,” he wrote. “Léaud’s acting trademark is a passionate decision that peaks his frenzied exasperation, physical compulsiveness. His taunted, berserk, exhausted moods are not unlike Julie Harris’s Frankie Adams in The Member of the Wedding (Fred Zinnemann, 1952), the same sense that everything around them is insipid, banal, and what they need, crave, is a release to some glamorous scene. With Léaud, the release never comes; he’s a sort of Lilliputian given a streak of go-go energy, trying to keep from sinking in the middle-class sloth, a near paranoid who’s dead if he ever sinks down.”

‘As an actor, he is active, an approach that elsewhere often denotes a kind of ingratiating, “watch me!” relationship with an audience, a desperate grab for attention and love. But with Léaud, it’s a different story. Often, his performance (that is, his character’s performance) seems to be for himself, certainly not for the spectators. For the camera, perhaps – for the cinematic process itself. Léaud, the actor, lets us observe a character’s private, self-examining rituals. There’s a strange mixture of generosity and narcissism, risk and repetition in this approach. It makes possible the more vulnerable, devastating performances.’ — Philippa Hawker, Senses of Cinema





Jean-Pierre Léaud @ IMDb
Jean-Pierre Léaud @ allocine
Jean-Pierre Léaud, le retour @ La Cinematheque Francais
‘Because of Tenderness: Thoughts on the Performance of Jean-Pierre Léaud’ @
‘The Adventures of Antoine Doinel’ DVD Box Set
‘Jean-Pierre Léaud, nerd boyfriend’
Jean-Pierre Leaud thread @ Mubi Forum
Jean-Pierre Leaud page @ Facebook



Jean Pierre Léaud au Festival de Cannes (1959)

Vas-y! Vas-y! Jean-Pierre!!

J-PL interviewed in 1973 (w/ English subtitles)

Truffaut lu par Léaud



Jean-Pierre Leaud May Finally Outgrow Life & Love on the Run
June 25, 1979, People Magazine


When French director Francois Truffaut began his career 20 years ago with the semiautobiographical The 400 Blows, he cast 14-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud as the sensitive, rebellious main character. The movie—with its unforgettable freeze frame ending of the youth, “Antoine Doinel,” on the beach—became a classic. The collaboration did not end there. In four subsequent films, director Truffaut, actor Léaud and the character Doinel have arguably become the most curious—and durable—manage a trois in cinema.

Like his screen counterpart, Léaud, who turns 35 this week, is an impulsive romantic. “The strongest moments in my life,” he says, “are when I’m filming. It’s an adventure. As an actor I try to seduce someone, try to share something. The rest of my time is spent exploring experiences with women.”

As charmingly quirky and vulnerable as Doinel, Léaud has never learned to drive a car and practices his lines by reading aloud—sometimes to his mother—in a small cemetery across from his Montparnasse apartment. His slight build, deep-set eyes and nervous gestures also eerily resemble those of Truffaut, whom Léaud calls his “spiritual parent. He gave me the world of cinema; he is the only one who tells me the truth about my work.”

The rebellious Truffaut, raised mainly by a wet nurse and his grandmother who died when he was 8, was eventually turned over to juvenile authorities by his architect father. The boy left school at 14 and was later discharged from the army as “an unstable personality.” Léaud, the son of playwright Pierre Léaud and actress Jacqueline Pierreux, one of France’s most popular postwar pinup girls, had been expelled from more than half a dozen boarding schools by age 13. “I was impossible,” he admits. “I couldn’t adjust.”

Léaud recalls that when he spotted a casting notice for The 400 Blows, “I knew instinctively that the audition was the most important moment of my life.” Truffaut recalls their first interview. “Other boys were much closer to the character and to me,” he says, “but Jean-Pierre’s intensity attracted me.” At 15, Léaud moved to his own apartment and, under Truffaut’s tutelage, fell into heady “New Wave” film circles.

Léaud has never married, explaining, “I’ve had my experiences with marriage in cinema roles.” When not filming, Léaud says, “I reflect, I listen to music, make notes, make love.” He takes all his meals in restaurants, often alone, favoring (as did Ernest Hemingway early on) the Dome cafe. With the passing of Doinel, Léaud is beginning to look more pragmatically at himself. “In my love life, it’s necessary that I succeed,” he says, and adds pensively: “I must intellectualize more. Only life can bring maturity. I think it’s time to pass into adulthood.”


23 of Jean Pierre Léaud’s 100 roles

Jean Cocteau Testament d’Orphée (1960)
Testament of Orpheus is a 1960 film directed by and starring Jean Cocteau. It is considered the final part of the Orphic Trilogy, following The Blood of a Poet (1930) and Orphée (1950). In the cast are Charles Aznavour, Lucia Bosé, Maria Casarès, Nicole Courcel, Luis Miguel Dominguín, Daniel Gélin, Jean-Pierre Léaud, Serge Lifar, Jean Marais, François Périer and Françoise Sagan. It also includes cameo appearances by Pablo Picasso and Yul Brynner. The film is in black-and-white, with just a few seconds of color film spliced in.’ —



Jean-Luc Godard Alphaville (1965)
‘After giving him two small roles in Alphaville and Pierrot le fou , Godard proposed to Jean-Pierre Léaud the main role of Masculin feminine (1965).’ — UniFrance



Jean-Luc Godard Masculin, féminin (1966)
‘This low-budget, black and white film stars French New Wave icon Jean-Pierre Léaud as Paul, a romantic young idealist and literary lion-wannabe who chases budding pop star, Madeleine (Chantal Goya, a real life Yé-yé girl). Despite markedly different musical tastes and political leanings, the two soon become romantically involved and begin a ménage à quatre with Madeleine’s two roommates, Catherine (Catherine-Isabelle Duport) and Elisabeth (Marlène Jobert). Ostensibly basing his film on two stories by Guy de Maupassant, Godard mixes off-the-cuff reportage and mise en scène to create a strikingly honest portrait of youth and sex, with Godard’s camera probing his young actors in a series of vérité-style interviews about love, love-making, and politics.’ — Only Old Movies



Jean-Pierre Léaud Présente Masculin Féminin – Cinémathèque 17/01/2020


Jean Luc Godard La Chinoise (1967)
La Chinoise should be ubiquitous. It anticipates not just the student riots in 1968 Paris but also the greatest in DVD supplements, the archived audition. Again, it was Truffaut who spliced Léaud’s tryout for The 400 Blows — an improvised question-and-answer—into the final cut. But where Truffaut courted naturalism through the unrehearsed scene, La Chinoise solicits the fleet-footed mechanics of invention. Léaud plays Guillaume, a student and Maoist, who pontificates at length, but only sometimes as Guillaume. Sometimes he is Jean-Pierre, sometimes he addresses his classmates, and sometimes he laughs at the crowd. If the audience is not us, it is Godard, who we hear, or maybe Raoul Coutard, the cameraman, who we see behind his camera.’ — Reverse Shot



Jerzy Skolimowski Le Depart (1967)
‘Marc (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is a young man who works at a local beauty shop and dreams of cars. When he borrows his boss’s car for the evening, he is seduced by a wealthy woman before finding love with a younger woman nearer to his own age. Marc also dreams of being part of the affluent society he observes but which always seems to elude him. Directed by Jerzy Skolimowski, the film won the Golden Bear at the 17th Berlin International Film Festival.’ — nndb




Francois Truffaut Baisers volés (Stolen Kisses, 1968)
‘François Truffaut’s charming 1968 romantic comedy, Stolen Kisses, opened in France four months after the paralyzing May strikes by students and workers that nearly succeeded in toppling the government of President Charles de Gaulle. The film was so thoroughly out of step with the radicalized cultural scene into which it was released that its popularity surprised everyone, perhaps Truffaut most of all. Truffaut doesn’t push too hard on any of this material. The gentle tone of Stolen Kisses seems keyed to Jean-Pierre Léaud’s unassuming poignancy in the role of Antoine Doinel. His relaxed improvisatory manner in front of the camera remains as fresh today as it did in 1968.’ — Selected Reviews


Extract: Antoine Doinel in front of his mirror

The final 2 minutes


Philippe Garrel La Concentration (1968)
‘“For La Concentration, I shut myself up with the camera in a room within which I built a little house, and I shut myself up there with a couple…a young man and a young woman, and we had a kind of exorcism—in front of the camera—of all that is in a couple.” The young man and woman in question are Jean-Pierre Léaud and ’60s icon Zouzou. Confined for 72 hours to a torture chamber–like apartment (one side sweltering, the other side freezing, with a bed in the middle), they enact an improvised psychodrama of sexual, psychic, and physical violence.’ — FSoLC


Pier Paolo Pasolini Porcile (Pigsty, 1969)
Porcile features two parallel stories. The first one is set in an unknown past time and is about a young man (Pierre Clémenti) who wanders in a volcanic landscape (shot around Etna) and turns into a cannibal. The second story is about Herr Klotz (Lionelli), a German industrialist and his young son Julian (Jean-Pierre Léaud) who live in 1960s Germany. Julian, instead of passing time with his radically politicised fiancée Ida (Wiazemsky), prefers to build relationships with pigs. Herr Klotz, on the other hand, with his loyal aide Hans Guenther (Ferreri) tries to solve his rivalry with fellow industrialist Herdhitze (Tognazzi). The two industrialists join forces while Julian gets eaten by pigs in the sty.’ — Wikipedia




Jean-Luc Godard Le Gai Savoir (1969)
‘Alone in an abandoned television studio, two militants, Émile Rousseau (Jean-Pierre Leaud) and Patricia Lumumba (Juliet Berto), have a discourse on language. Referring to the spoken word as “the enemy”—the weapon used by the establishment to confuse liberation movements—the two deconstruct the meanings of sounds and images in an attempt to “return to zero” and truly experience the joy of learning.’ — The Criterion Channel



François Truffaut Bed & Board (1970)
‘The fourth installment in François Truffaut’s chronicle of the ardent, anachronistic Antoine Doinel, Bed and Board plunges his hapless creation once again into crisis. Expecting his first child and still struggling to find steady employment, Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) involves himself in a relationship with a beautiful Japanese woman that threatens to destroy his marriage. Lightly comic, with a touch of the burlesque, Bed and Board is a bittersweet look at the travails of young married life and the fine line between adolescence and adulthood.’ — Criterion Collection



Jacques Rivette Out 1 (1971)
‘Out 1 is a 1971 film directed by Jacques Rivette, one of the major filmmakers of the French New Wave. Notorious for its unwieldy length of twelve hours and forty minutes, it is also referred to as Out 1: Noli me tangere. When asked why the film is called Out 1, Rivette responded, “I choose “Out” as the opposite of the vogue word “in”, which had caught in France and which I thought was silly. The action of the film is rather like a serial which could continue through several episodes, so I gave it the number “One”.” The Spectre subtitle for the shorter version was similarly chosen for its ambiguous and various indistinct meanings, while the Noli me tangere subtitle (“don’t touch me”) for the original version is clearly a reference to it being the full length film as intended by Rivette.’ — Wikipedia




Bernardo Bertolucci Last Tango in Paris (1972)
‘Despite the legend that has grown up around the film, it is not simply about claustrophobic shagging in the one flat. Occasionally, they leave their Alex Comfort zone, and this is where the movie picks up dramatic speed. Schneider comes from a well-to-do family; her father was an army officer in Algeria in the 1950s. She has a callow, irritating film-maker boyfriend (Jean-Pierre Léaud) – whose callow irritatingness unfortunately seeps into movie’s texture a bit. He intends to make a drama-documentary about their lives together, perpetually showing up with a camera-crew in tow.’ — The Guardian



Jean Eustache La Mere et la Putain (The Mother and the Whore, 1973)
‘In one scene in the middle of Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore (1973), Alexandre (Jean-Pierre Léaud), fooling around a bit too enthusiastically with his lover Veronika (Françoise Lebrun, the ‘whore’ to Bernadette Lafont’s ‘mother’), ignores her when she asks him to slow down and let her remove her tampon. As she tries to retrieve it, Alexandre, too delighted by the situation to keep it to himself, picks up the phone and calls a friend to tell him the story as it continues to play out before him (the friend, sadly, fails to answer). This is probably the funniest scene in the movie, but it’s also no less bleak than the rest of The Mother and the Whore, graphically demonstrating Alexandre’s insensitivity and self-absorption-nothing is private for Alexandre, everything is material waiting to be turned into an anecdote or to contribute to the persona he carefully maintains and presents to the world-and as such it’s also emblematic of the remarkable balance between humor and despair that Eustache maintains throughout the film.’ — Senses of Cinema





Francois Truffaut La nuit américaine (Day for Night, 1973)
‘François Truffaut’s 1973 film shows us the reverse side of cinema’s tapestry: the audience sees the intricately woven figures and pleasing shapes, but behind there are the ragged knots, rough-looking jumbles and loose threads. In many ways, Day for Night is similar to Godard’s Contempt, and Truffaut does admit the suspicion that cinema and especially Hollywood is contemptible: mendacious, infantilised and corrupt. But this suspicion is finally dispelled in favour of celebration: Godard broke with Truffaut after seeing Day for Night. It is a breezy, richly enjoyable if not especially profound film about cinema.’ —




Jean-Luc Godard Détective (1985)
‘Jean-Luc Godard’s DÉTECTIVE (1985) is an invigorating deconstruction of film noir that adds a dash of Grand Hotel (1932) melodrama and Body and Soul (1947) boxing drama, all tied into an arresting Godardian knot. In a luxury Paris hotel, two detectives (Laurent Terzieff and Jean-Pierre Leaud) are working on the vexing case of an assassinated prince. In a nearby room, boxing trainer Jim Fox Warner (Johnny Hallyday) is getting his young protege ready for a fight. But Jim owes big money to the mob, as well as to the Chenals, a bickering husband and wife (Claude Brasseur and Nathalie Baye). In Godard’s fractured, poetic style, the tension ratchets up between these groups until they reach a bloody breaking point.’ — Kino Lorber



Catherine Breillat 36 fillette (1988)
‘While vacationing with her family, 14-year-old Lili (Delphine Zentout) vows to lose her virginity. She attracts the attention of a good-looking, middle-aged playboy (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and seduces him with the skill of an adult and the naiveté of a child. But another chance encounter with a musician furthers her journey toward sexual awakening in this film based on the popular novel by writer-director Catherine Breillat.’ — GetGlue



Agnès Varda Jane B. for Agnes V. (1988)
‘In this kaleidoscopic film made of various fragments of fictions, over various seasons, Jane Birkin plays various parts including her own with humour.’ — mk2



Aki Kaurismäki I Hired a Contract Killer (1990)
‘In this Finnish comedy, which features all-English dialogue and nary a Scandanavian in it, Henri Boulanger (Jean-Pierre Leaud), is a colorless English civil servant, who was given a speedy retirement when his agency was “privatized,” complete with a gold watch. His life is so barren that removing even the empty activities of his job makes it not worth living, so he attempts suicide by sticking his head in a gas oven – just as a gas service strike gets underway. Frustrated, he takes his savings from the bank and heads off to hire a contract killer to take his life from him. Then he really begins to enjoy life – so much so, that now he wants to avoid his imminent demise.’ — Clarke Fountain, Rovi




Olivier Assayas Paris s’éveille (1991)
‘A tasteful big-city drama in which the stylish pictures are especially impressive. David Rooney (Variety): ‘Pic’s visual style has nonstop electricity’. Rooney had just as much praise for the quality of the scenario, the tight directing of Assayas, the convincing and attractive leading players and the fast cutting which works well in combination with the music of John Cale. Paris s’éveille is certainly not optimistic about the condition humaine, but is at the same time pregnant with sensual passion. The film is austere, but has a striking lyrical style.After a six-month journey, 19-year-old Adrien (Thomas Langmann) returns to Paris. He seeks shelter with his father (Jean-Pierre Léaud), whom he hasn’t seen for four years. His father lives with Louise (Judith Godrèche), a ‘wild girl’ (Rooney) of Adrien’s age, who is on and off drugs. After initial clashes, a turbulent relationship develops between Louise and Adrien. After a fierce quarrel with Adrien’s father, the lovers leave his house. Lack of money forces them to move into a squat. At first they try to live from all kinds of odd jobs and dealing, but soon give in to the temptation of the money Louise can earn by selling her body. Adrien and Louise soon grow apart. Louise starts an affair with a producer in the hope of making a career in television. Adrien does not stop her and disappears from the scene. When Louise months later tries to mend the bridges with both Adrien and his father, a lot has changed.’ — iffr

the entirety


Philippe Garrel La naissance de l’amour (1993)
‘Middle-aged artistes provide the focus of this drama filmed in black and white. The story is set in Paris around the time of the Gulf War. Paul is an actor leading a drab directionless existence. He has an affair with Ulrika, a woman half his age. His wife, with whom he constantly argues, is pregnant with their second child. He does not interact much with his teenage son. Much of the film centers around the emptiness of his life.’ — IMDb



Olivier Assayas Irma Vep (1996)
‘Hong Kong action diva Maggie Cheung (Ashes of Time Redux, In the Mood for Love) plays herself in haute auteur Olivier Assayas’ spiky satire of the French film industry. After seeing her in Johnny To’s cult-actioner Heroic Trio, past-his-prime director René Vidal (New Wave legend Jean-Pierre Léaud) impetuously casts Cheung as the lead in his remake of the silent classic Les Vampires. Unable to speak a word of French and clad in a head-to-toe rubber catsuit, Cheung finds herself adrift among the disorganized crew—including an increasingly erratic Vidal, a lovesick bi-sexual costumer (Nathalie Richard) and a gossipy executive’s wife (Bulle Ogier). With freewheeling cinematography choreographed to the strains of Sonic Youth and Luna, Irma Vep immerses the viewer into the heady desperation and l’amour fou of modern movie-making.’ –- Zeitgeist Films





Bertrand Bonello Le Pornographe (The Pornographer, 2001)
‘Jacques Laurent (Jean-Pierre Leaud) made pornographic films in the 1970’s and ’80’s, but had put that aside for 20 years. His artistic ideas, born of the ’60’s counter-culture, had elevated the entire genre. Older and paunchier, he is now directing a porno again. Jacques’s artistry clashes with his financially-troubled producer’s ideas about shooting hard-core sex. Jacques has been estranged from his son Joseph for years, since the son first learned the nature of the family business. They are now speaking again. Joseph and his friends want to recapture the idealism of 1968 with a protest. Separated from his wife, Jacques strives for personal renewal with plans to build a new house by himself.’ — IMDb



Albert Serra The Death of Louis XIV (2016)
‘Time and gangrene wait for no man, even if he is the eighteenth century’s most powerful ruler and he’s played by a genuine icon of world cinema. That’s the message of this daring micro-budget historical drama, built around the still captivating presence of seventysomething Jean-Pierre Léaud (the young scamp in François Truffaut’s 1959 coming-of-age movie ‘The 400 Blows’). Léaud’s Louis XIV is not a well man, spending much of the time languishing, looking askance at his gourmet food and feeling slightly queasy as the nasty whiff of his festering leg fills the room. Yes, that sounds like more of an ordeal than a night out at the cinema, and this will not be to all tastes. Still, you may come to admire Catalan writer-director Albert Serra’s fastidious purpose in having this supreme monarch shed all his worldly riches. The painterly camerawork shows the sheer sophistication possible these days with digital technology.’ — Time Out (London)


‘The Death of Louis XIV’ Press Conference | Jean-Pierre Léaud & Albert Serra



p.s. Hey. ** Armando, Hi. Well, okay, that’s that then. Today? Zac just got back to Paris so hopefully see him, work on some stuff, the govt. announces the next reopening phase this evening and we’re all hoping for some cafes or culture, so that and whatever surprises come along. You? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. ‘Into it?’, ha ha. It’s an interesting practice is what I will say to that. Were you ‘into it’? Everyone, David Ehrenstein pays tribute to Larry Kramer on his FaBlog right here. ** Quinn R, Hi, Quinn. I’m good. Yes, the ‘here and now’ that we all anticipated turned out to be a fairytale, sadly. But Paris is gradually becoming a lovely place again, knock on wood, so hopefully your trip will happen and align with a new potential activity grab bag attached. The reopening has been good, a success, no increased infections or anything. We’re finding out what phase 2 will be this evening. I’ve just been working on various things mostly and enjoying the slightly strange outdoors. Nothing too big. You? Ah! Great that your and Diarmuid’s project is being born! You’ll link to it on Facebook or something, I hope? I’ll keep an eagle eye. Congratulations! I’m excited to read it. ‘Loafing around’: I’ve always liked that term for some reason. Me too, generally, or as a loaf-y as a busy bee like me can stand to be. Take good care, and talk again soon! ** _Black_Acrylic, Yes, the new Vladislav Delay is really, really good. I think you’ll love it. It and the Villaelvin album were the big revelations to me of that bunch. ** Steve Erickson, Oh, good. Happy that the gig sent you to bandcamp. Both those albums are really good, I think. Nice about Daniel and Clara. I’ve met them. They are super nice people. Of course I think a Twitter deletion sounds like a wholly curative measure. ** Sypha, Hi. A Sonic Youth kick! Nice. I like all those records. I like or love all of their records. My least favorite is the album that was their biggest hit, ‘Dirty’. Just doesn’t quite do it for me. I liked ‘Forbidden Colors’ too. Yeah, I read a whole bunch of his books in a row at one point many years ago. Haven’t reread him in decades. I should re-dip. And do a spotlight post. Curbside pick-up, right, of course. One would guess people will be coming back inside in a few weeks, no? Unless the dreaded spike happens, I guess. Who fucking knows. ** Misanthrope, That in between short hair and long is kind of a purgatory. I used to wear a knit cap during the awkward phase, I think. I can’t remember. Oh, man, very best of luck to your mom. That’s a little intense. I’m sure it’ll be okay, but, yikes. All love to you. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi. Yeah, the Oi, Kant! is sweet, right? I want one even though I don’t make music in the slightest. The only time I was in Alabama was driving speedily through it get from one state (Louisiana?) to another (Georgia?). It felt weird. Do I know Zoe Polanski? No, I don’t think so. But now I will thanks to you. Obviously no relation to the controversial Polanski? I’ll find out for myself. Thank you, sir. Hope all is great! ** Okay. Jean-Pierre Leaud! What more needs be said! That’s a windfall up there. Take advantage maybe. See you tomorrow.


  1. rewritedept


    i think ‘the 400 blows’ is the only thing i’ve seen with leaud. great film, though.

    you might have seen on bookface or elsewhere, but i got a new guitar and a death by audio interstellar overdriver deluxe, which is like the most bad-ass sounding little dirt box i’ve ever heard. i’m getting an amp this week and then finding people to jam with. i’ll also be teaching gunner (my roommate’s son and just about my favorite person in the world, judging by how frequently he pops up on my fb/insta) how to play guitar. i’m teaching him how to play in five-string keef tuning for now, because he’s little and i think it’s a little easier to learn (and when i got him his guitar, it was missing a string like my strat, and he insisted on having it tuned like mine so we could play together).

    otherwise, things are well here. waiting for a big order from michael (with a teenage satanists T that i’m super stoked for) and a signed copy of ‘principio erat’ by bill henson. listening to loads of tommy keene and metz and a place to bury strangers. missing gunner (he’s back in vegas for a couple more weeks, then we get him back).

    how’s tricks on yr end? i hope all is well.

    anyway, i’m gonna go get high and rub one out before i go to bed. talk soon.



  2. Armando

    I still remember being 14 when Léaud was my favorite actor.

    It was so great seeing him in the Magnificent ‘La Mort De Louis XIV’ by Serra; which is also one of my All-Time Favorite Films.

    There’s no denying Léaud is a Great Living Legend and he will be remembered and celebrated mostly for Truffaut’s ‘Les Quatre Cents Coups’ and the aforementioned Serra’s ‘La Mort De Louis XIV’.

    Thanks so much for the post!

  3. David Ehrenstein

    Jean-Pierre Leaud is every bit an “Aximon of the cinema” More than Charlton Heston, I think. He is also bat-shit crazy. Back in the early 80’s he was briefly imprisoned for attacking his landlady with a hammer. When bill and I went to Paris in the mid-80[s we went to the big party “Cahiers” threw for itself to celebrate it’s 400th issue. Bill freaked out when he saw that Leaud was standing next to me (we were both looking at an exhibit) But happily the Mad Cinema God was quite and polite. Of his many performances my faves are “Ou t,” “The Mother and the Whore,” “Masculin-Feminin” “Le Depart” and “La Naissance de L’Amour” Bertolucci once had an dea ofr a proect called “Natura Contra Natura” that would star Leaud, Lou Castel and Allen Midgette. Alas it was never made.

    Regarding “into it” a guy who lied down the street in mid-WeHo many year ago asked me to do him. He gave me precise instructions. It was terrified. He enjoyed it. I expect he’s long gone by now — but not because of me.

  4. David Ehrenstein

    One other thing about Leaud and his unmarried status. He adores prostitutes and goes to them all the time. This connects him to Godard who also adores prostitutes yet he never filmed Leaud in bed with one in a movie.

    Once a number of years ago Leaud came to L.A. for a confab with my friend Bill Krohn. He demanded that Bill get him a hooker STAT Leaud is always portraying a sunny romantic on screen but he’sfar from it in life.

  5. Thomas Moronic

    Jean-Pierre Léaud just oozes cool, right? Wow. I learned a lot about him thanks to this. Thanks, Dennis.

    Almost finished the launch day for my trapped novel. I’ll send it you at the weekend I hope. And then hopefully I might hear an update about the book next week? Like I said, it’s stuck in Washington, which seems a lot more careful and cautious than other places. I was talking with Mark Gluth yesterday who was telling me that each county there is acting kind independently when it comes to easing down.

    Quick question – it’s been a while since I made a guest post – do I still need to send the images as separate attachments or can I stick them in the Word document? I remember before I had to email the word document and the images separately, right?

  6. _Black_Acrylic

    I can see there’s a bunch of Leaud’s classics needs adding to my lockdown DVD rental list. Good news, Agnes Varda’s One Sings, the Other Doesn’t arrives here tomorrow so I’m looking forward to that a whole lot.

  7. tomk

    hey man,

    French film days are always so good. I had a weird Proustian flashback yesterday to voting for this blog however many years ago that was now. I remember sitting in the university computer room and on the website there were like four options for something you might do… i can’t remember what they were. Anyway, I voted for the blog…I was writing my dissertation on Frisk and Crash or had just finished it I think. It was so strange to suddenly get that memory. Do you have that first blogpost anywhere? I

  8. tomk

    hey man,

    French film days are always so good. I had a weird well Proustian flashback yesterday to voting for this blog however many years ago that was now. I remember sitting in the university computer room and on the website there were like four options for something you might do… i can’t remember what they were. Anyway, I voted for the blog…I was writing my dissertation on Frisk and Crash or had just finished it I think. It was so strange to suddenly get that memory. Do you have that first blogpost anywhere?

  9. Sypha

    Ah yes, THE 400 BLOWS, I saw that in film class in college probably like 20 years ago. Should give it a rewatch one day.

    We don’t know yet if the B&N I work at will be reopening for real once phase 2 commences in Massachusetts.

    I’m not a super-huge fan of DIRTY but I think I like it more than their other mainstream album (GOO). I like the album art/packaging, the music video for “100%,” and there are a few songs on it I like such as “Drunken Butterfly” and “Youth Against Fascism.” The thing with Sonic Youth is their 90’s period is their era that I don’t dip into as often… when I first started getting into the band around 2001 or so, I mainly listened to the early stuff from the 1980’s or the then newer stuff they were coming out with at that time. Actually, now that I think about it Dennis, your story in the liner notes for SISTER was probably my first exposure to your work (as it wasn’t until 2002 that I read CLOSER).

  10. Misanthrope

    Thanks, Big D. All love back to you. She was touched when I told her you sent her good vibes. I’m thinking it’ll turn out fine.

    Ah, yeah, I just walked around looking like a madman during that in-between short and long hair phase. 😀

    I don’t know much about Leaud, but I know that first image/GIF is hella cool.

  11. Steve Erickson

    After last night’s post, I listened to Caleb Landry-Jones and Villaelvin as well. Both of them were intriguing, although I haven’t checked out their full albums.

    I got a copy of the new Lady Gaga album today. I’ve started writing a review, although there are so many things one can say about her, especially in the context of a gay-oriented paper, that I have several opening sentences. It’s OK – sounds like a return to her first 2 albums with a more house music-oriented sound. Dua Lipa’s FUTURE NOSTALGIA is a much better example of recent mainstream dance-pop.

    I’m looking forward to the Canadian rapper Backxwash’s new album GOD HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS SO LEAVE HIM OUT OF IT. If you haven’t heard her, she’s doing a punk- and metal-influenced take on horrorcore. The songs released from it so far include very obvious Patti Smith and Black Sabbath and production and vocals from Black Dresses.

    Rarefilmm’s entire library seems to have been taken down by due to copyright violations. That seems weird because it’s easy to find a dozen copies of, say, THE EXORCIST on in 30 seconds. What will I do now with all this time on lockdown? I hope they can find another server soon.

  12. Bill

    What a charmer, that Leaud! I’ve seen a few of the classics, but all years ago. Time for revisits.

    The Vladislav Delay track from yesterday is rather different from what I expected. Maybe I’ve mostly heard a certain segment of his work. Good to see Penny Rimbaud is still active; that’s a tasty cut as well.

    Steve, so sorry to hear that rarefilmm is down. Nate Dorr just pointed to a huge trove of 70s BBC theater adaptations and other Brit rarities on YouTube, in case you’re interested. I just saw John Glenister’s A Photograph, which would fit beautifully in my High Anxiety list of dark films.

    On a related note, I finally saw the marvelously odd queer folk horror movie Penda’s Fen, which Ben/Black Acrylic showcased in a blog post here a few years ago. Very nice.

    Dennis, sounds like you may have cafes again very soon. It might take a little longer for us. I did do my first bookstore curbside pickup this week, snagged the new Percival Everett, and Fernanda Melchor’s Hurricane Season.



  13. Armando


  14. Armando

    How’s it going, my friend?

    Plans for today?

    Just saw this ‘Brahms: The Boy II’ and actually liked it. It’s not a “good” film in the traditional sense at all but I just couldn’t help but like it (it’s, you know, a relatively cheap contemporary “horror” and “suspense” film with some of the typical tropes of the sub-genre (like jump-scares that aren’t startling at all, some predictable things, et cetera.) It’s a “cursed”/living/“evil”/killer doll movie; and apparently it was “a bomb” at the box office just like it was critically. But, whatever; the point and the truth is that I liked and enjoyed it (and I hadn’t been able to enjoy anything for a good while).

    Take care,

    Good day, good luck,

    Love, Hugs,


  15. Garry Mirsky

    I met Truffaut, I believe in 1974 . He was leaving his office, not far from Champ’s d’elysee. My travel companion took a picture of us shaking hands. Yes, Jean Paul Leaud did look so much like Truffaut when they both were young. When first becoming crazy about the ‘New Wave”, it was difficult to say who was who the director or his eponymous one. Now seeing Leaud in old age, how much he looks like Antonin Artaud, a baggy suit and beautiful sweeping hair. There is so much depth to this character, this actor , this person. One life as a definition of youth and a later one as experienced and wiser elder. So clear. Thank you so much for the review

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