Tag Archives: 1970s cinema

RIP Michel Piccoli (1925 – 2020)

Michel Piccoli was a French actor of the generation of Philippe Noiret, Jean Rochefort and yes, Yves Montand.

Of note is his work with Marco Ferreri (Dillinger Is Dead, La Grande Bouffe, The Last Woman and Don’t Touch the White Woman!); with Luis Buñuel (Diary of a Chambermaid Belle de jour, The Milky Way, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Phantom of Liberty); and Jean-Luc Godard (Contempt).

In The Milky Way (1969) he plays Marquis de Sade.

Then there is the iconic La Grande Bouffe (1973), the story of three bourgeois men who decide to eat themselves to death.

Later I saw Themroc (1973), one of the strangest counterculture films where he played opposite the tragic but delightful Patrick Dewaere.

Watching clips on YouTube, you see him with Romy Schneider in The Things of Life (1970), my god what a beautiful woman she was.

RIP Sonny ‘french connection’ Grosso (1930 – 2020)

The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing ‘The French Connection’ (2000)

Sonny Grosso was a New York City police detective turned movie and television producer, noted for his role in the “French Connection” heroin bust immortalized in the The French Connection (1971), directed by William Friedkin.

The BBC documentary The Poughkeepsie Shuffle: Tracing ‘The French Connection’ (2000) [above] features him extensively.

After being an adviser on The French Connection, Grosso went on to play a part in the film Cruising (1980), also directed by William Friedkin.

The History of Cruising (2007),

This film is also the subject of a documentary (above).

RIP Bruno Ganz (1941 – 2019)

Nosferatu the Vampyre, 1979

Bruno Ganz was was an internationally renowned Swiss actor.

He collaborated with filmmakers Werner Herzog (Nosferatu the Vampyre, 1979), Éric Rohmer (The Marquise of O, 1976), Francis Ford Coppola (Youth Without Youth, 2007), Wim Wenders (The American Friend, 1977 and Wings of Desire, 1987) and Jonathan Demme (The Manchurian Candidate, 2004).

Ganz was internationally lauded for portraying Adolf Hitler in the film Downfall (2004).

For the occasion, I watched Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)of which the German version is online. Ganz plays Jonathan Harker, Count Dracula is played by a heavily breathing, almost panting Klaus Kinski.

Pay special attention to the beauty of Isabelle Adjani; the opening sequence of the Mummies of Guanajuato; the film score by Krautrock outfit Popol Vuh and Richard Wagner’s prelude to Das Rheingold, Charles Gounod’s “Sanctus” from Messe solennelle à Sainte Cécile and traditional Georgian folk song Tsintskaro; and the frantic mad scenes by Roland Topor.

The film is wonderful. It’s an hommage to the 1922 version by F. W. Murnau.

Here is the original film.

Nosferatu, 1922