16 October 2013

Richard Berry

Richard Berry (1950) is a French actor, film director and screenwriter. He has appeared in nearly 100 films since 1972.

Richard Berry
French postcard by Editions Humour à la Carte, Paris, no. ST-62.

My First Love

Richard Berry was born in Paris in 1950. His brother Philippe Berry is a sculptor and sometimes actor.

Richard entered the Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique – CNSAD (French National Academy of Dramatic Arts) in 1969, and joined the Comédie Française in 1973.

He started his film career with a bit part in the drama Absences répétées/Repeated Absences (Guy Gilles, 1972).

In 1978 he had his breakthrough opposite Anouk Aimée in the romantic drama Mon premier amour/My first love (Élie Chouraqui, 1978). It is the sentimental story of the relationship between a lovely mother and her 20-year-old son who never really knew her. When he learns that she is dying of leukaemia, he tries to get to know her.

In the crime drama Le Grand Pardon (Alexandre Arcady, 1982), he played the son of Jewish gangster Roger Hanin.

Another success was La Balance/The Nark (Bob Swaim, 1982) starring Nathalie Baye and Philippe Léotard. It won the César Award for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress, and was nominated for Most Promising Actor (twice), Best Director, Best Writing - Original and Best Editing. The film had more than 4 million admissions in France becoming the 5th highest grossing film of the year.

Berry co-starred with Dominique Sanda and Danielle Darrieux in Une chambre en ville/A Room in Town (Jacques Demy, 1982), a musical in which every line of dialogue is sung.

Eleanor Mannikka at AllMovie: “Enhanced by excellent choreography, this film still did poorly at the box office when it was first released. In order to save it and encourage audiences to see it for its own merits, 76 French critics took out an ad in Le Monde to promote the film, and some critics said that if this movie failed, so would all of French cinema. Perhaps it is not surprising then that Chambre En Ville won the French Critics' Prix Méliès in 1982.”

Other films included the thrillers La Garce/The Bitch (Christine Pascal, 1984) starring Isabelle Huppert, and Lune de miel/Honeymoon (Patrick Jamain, 1985) with Nathalie Baye.

He had a big role next to Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée in Un homme et une femme, 20 ans déjà/A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later (Claude Lelouch, 1986) a sequel to Lelouch's classic Un homme et une femme (1966).

With Isabelle Huppert, he also appeared in the French–Yugoslavian drama film Seobe/Migrations (Aleksandar Petrović, 1988).

And he played painter Amedeo Modigliani in Modí (Franco Brogi Taviani, 1989).

Richard Berry, Patrick Bruel
French postcard by Editions F. Nugeron. Photo: publicity still for L'Union Sacrée/Brothers in Arms (Alexandre Arcady, 1989).

Gay Comedy

During the 1990s, Richard Berry starred in a stream of interesting French films.

He played the lead in the drama L'entraînement du champion avant la course/The drive champion before the race (Bernard Favre, 1991), which was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival.

He played a banker with a criminal father (Roger Hanin) in the sequel Le Grand Pardon II/Day of Atonement (Alexandre Arcady, 1992). The film, shot in France and the US, also features the American film stars Christopher Walken, Jill Clayburgh and Jennifer Beals.

He co-starred with Claudia Cardinale and Omar Sharif in 588 rue paradis/Mother (1992), a semi-autobiographical film written and directed by French-Armenian filmmaker Henri Verneuil.

He received a César nomination for his lead in the French-Swiss drama Le Petit Prince a Dit/And the Little Prince Said (Christine Pascal, 1992) which follows an estranged Swiss couple (Berry and Anémone) who re-evaluate their relationship with the discovery of their daughter's terminal illness.

Then he played the title role in the French-Belgian drama Le joueur de violon/The Violin Player (Charles Van Damme, 1994), which was entered into the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.

Another critical success was L'Appât/The Bait (Bertrand Tavernier, 1995) about two boys and a girl who commit a murder, with the girl acting as a 'bait'. The film is based on the 1990 book by Morgan Sportès, which is in turn based on a true event in 1984. The film won the Golden Bear Award at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival.

Next he appeared with Patrick Timsit in the gay comedy Pédale douce/Soft Pedal (Gabriel Aghion, 1996), for which their co-star Fanny Ardant won the 1997 César Award for Best Actress.

Timsit directed him in Quasimodo d'El Paris (Patrick Timsit, 1999), a comedic adaptation of the novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) by Victor Hugo.

He co-starred with Jacqueline Bisset in the dramedy Les Gens qui s'aiment/People Who Love Each Other (Jean-Charles Tacchella, 1999).

Fanny Ardant
Fanny Ardant. French postcard by Humour a la Carte, Paris, no. 3713.

A Pain in the Ass

Richard Berry continued to be a major French star in the new Millennium.

He starred in the comedy 15 Août/15 August (Patrick Alessandrin, 2001) about several middle aged men who have a crisis on their hands when their wives depart leaving them to look after the boisterous kids.

berry was the treacherous boss of Jean-Pierre Darroussin in Ah! Si j'étais riche/If I Were a Rich Man (Gérard Bitton, Michel Munz, 2002).

He co-starred in the comedy-crime caper Tais toi!/Shut up! (Francis Veber, 2003) starring Jean Reno and Gérard Depardieu.

His film Moi César, 10 ans 1/2, 1m39/I, Cesar (Richard Berry, 2003) was inspired by his childhood which was sometimes painful.

Berry also directed the mystery La Boîte noire/The Black Box (2005), which he also wrote with Éric Assous, adapted from a novella by Tonino Benacquista. The film starred José Garcia and Marion Cotillard.

He had a supporting part in the comedy La doublure/The Valet (Francis Veber, 2006).

In 2008, he reunited with Patrick Timsit for a remake of the black comedy L' Emmerdeur/A Pain In The Ass (Édouard Molinaro, 1973) about the unlikely friendship between a hitman (in 1973 Lino Ventura) and a suicidal guy (in 1973 Jacques Brel).

The new L' Emmerdeur (2008) was directed by farce master Francis Veber, who had also written the original version. Berry himself directed the action thriller L'immortel/22 Bullets (Richard Berry, 2009) with Jean Reno, based on the novel L'Immortel by Franz-Olivier Giesbert.

Richard Berry was married three times. First with actress Jessica Forde and later with Jeane Manson. Since 2009 he is married to actress Pascale Praise.

He is the father of the actresses Coline and Josephine Berry.

His newest film is Avant l'hiver/Winter Rose (Philippe Claudel, 2013) with Daniel Auteuil and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Australian trailer L' Emmerdeur/A Pain In The Ass (1980). Source: Shar mill (YouTube).

Sources: Eleanor Mannikka (AllMovie), Wikipedia (English and French), AllMovie and IMDb.

1 comment:

Bunched Undies said...

Is he related to American director/actor John Berry who was exiled to France by the HUAC? I always thought so. There is certainly a resemblance but there's no info linking them on the internet. Maybe just a coincidence.