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Denis Lavant, born in 1961, is a French actor known for his distinctive face and his often physically demanding roles which involve dancing, acrobatics or slapstick. He has been in a long-standing association with filmmaker Leos Carax, and has starred in his almost all of his films. He is also known for his portrayal of a Charlie Chaplin impersonator in Harmony Korine's 'Mister Lonely' (2007).
If Jean Cocteau and Luis Buñuel mastered the art of committing dreams to film, David Lynch too the form deep into the dark recesses of nightmare. His early shorts, such as 'The Grandmother', hinted at what was to come. But even then, 'Eraserhead' (1977) surprised. What followed confounded. Mel Brooks' inspired decision to bring Lynch on board as the director of 'The Elephant Man' (1980) brought a strangeness that kept any hints of sentimentality in check. If 'Dune' (1984) was a grand folly, moments still inspire awe, from the sight of the giant worms to the grotesqueness of Kenneth McMillan's Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. But 'Blue Velvet' (1986) was a masterpiece – a deconstruction of American values and a deeply disturbing black comedy. 'Wild at Heart' (1990) was more outrageous – it also won the filmmaker the Palme d'Or at Cannes – but cruder and in its worst moments boorish. A segue into television produced 'Twin Peaks' (1990-91) and the excellent prequel feature 'Fire Walk with Me' (1992). Like the subsequent 'Lost Highway' (1997) and 'Mulholland Drive' (2001), Lynch perfected his nightmare worlds where logic was jettisoned in favour of his own perception of the world. They are a stark contrast to the sweet, fable-like 'The Straight Story' (1999), a lovely, eccentric tale of sibling rivalry and forgiveness. In the last decade, Lynch has made music videos, been the subject of documentaries, reprised 'Twin Peaks' and even opened a club in Paris. He has made just one film 'Inland Empire', that may just be far ahead of its time, or just so strange as to be of another world entirely.
No actor is more associated with the Nouvelle Vague (French New Wave) than Jean-Pierre Léaud One of the great icons of post-WWII French cinema, Léaud's career has been as idiosyncratic as it has long. At the age of 14, Léaud was cast as Antoine Doinel, director François Truffaut's young anti-hero in 'The 400 Blows' (1959). It was the first of five roles playing the character over a period of 20 years. During the 1960s, he also worked with Jean-Luc Godard on seven films including 'Weekend' and 'La Chinoise' (both 1967), with Jean Cocteau on 'Testament of Orpheus' (1960) and Pasolini on 'Pigsty' (1969). Arguably his most momentous year in film was 1973 when he appeared in Truffaut's 'Day for Night', Bertolucci's 'Last Tango in Paris' and Jean Eustache's 'The Mother and the Whore'. He has worked regularly since, for a wide variety of world filmmakers, including Aki Kaurismäki, Olivier Assayas, Tsai Ming-Liang, Bertrand Bonello and most recently Alberto Serra, taking the lead role in 'The Death of Louis XIV'.