RARA-AVIS: Add Michel Serault to the RIP list...

From: E. Borgers ( webeurop@yahoo.fr)
Date: 31 Jul 2007

Add Michel Serrault, the French actor to the RIP list.
  He passed away a few days ago.
  This actor who benefited a lot from experience and age, will be remembered by Avians essentially for his very good acting in two crime movies that are well above average, amongst his more than hundred films:
  "Garde ࠶ue" with Lino Ventura, directed by Claude Miller (loosely based on a novel by John Wainwright)-1981
  "Mortelle Randonn饔 more noir and a bit surrealist, but a very good film- by Claude Miller, based on the novel: The Eye of the Beholder (Marc Behm)- 1983
  He came from the lower end of French filmed comedies, accepting roles in any kind of movies. Being better than the films he played in, he soon was spotted by unconventional directors, as Serrault always could find his way in cold or noir humor: he played in some by J-P Mocky. He was also talented to render characters with unbalanced psychology having a frightening side, ambiguity.
  This made that he collaborated to many good crime movies, some being close to comedy, others very dramatic, like
  "Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud" by Claude Sautet (very good- light humor)-1995
  "Assassin(s)" by Mathieu Kassovitz - 1997
  "Les fant du chapelier" by Chabrol (based on Simenon)-1982
  "Buffet froid"(Cold Cuts)" by Bertrand Blier (a cameo only- film with very black humor)-1979
  There are others.
  In non-crime films I could suggest the following, as outstanding films with Serrault at his best:
  "Les enfants du marais" by Jean Becker (son of the famed Jacques)-1999
  "Le libertin" (very badly received by critics- a mistake IMO, and Serrault is brilliant as a "iconoclastic cardinal")
  "Le bonheur est dans le pr锠by Etienne Chatillez (poetic and ironic comedy)
  His greatest hit on film was « La cage aux folles »(1978) a pitiful comedy "de boulevard" he played on stage in Paris first. This encouraged his bad comedian side to become more "cabotin" (= a ham; sorry, IIRC no good English equivalent to this very negative word applied to an actor) when he was not controlled by a strong director.
  I personally will not forgive his participation to this massacre a Jean-Luc Miesch did to a novel with Nestor Burma, a deplorable and poor derision of the character and the novel. A pretentious lemon, and Serrault not only accepted but pushed the whole thing to mediocrity.A real shame.
  To avoid if you come across: "Nestor Bruma, detective de choc" -1982.
  I prefer to remember his best contributions…

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