Henri Garcin was a Belgian actor, born as Anton Albers in Antwerp to Dutch parents. In his twenties, he left for Paris to try his luck as an actor.
He found a place on the stage in several high-brow theatrical plays and went on to become a character actor in cinema, appearing in more than hundred French films.
In my universe he is of importance for playing in several Alex Van Warmerdam films: Abel, (1986), The Northerners, (1992) and The Dress, (1996), Grimm (2003) and Schneider vs. Bax (2015).
He also had parts in two films by fellow cult director Jos Stelling.
The first time that I saw Garcin was in 1986 in Cinema Cartoons in Antwerpen, when we went to see Warmerdam’s debut feature Abel.
In the clip above you can see the famous Christmas breakfast scene of that film, one of the best scenes of Dutch cinema by one of its most interesting filmmakers.
Allow me to translate:
‘Put that thing away.’
‘At Christmas breakfast no binoculars. Put that thing away!’
‘Give me that thing.’
‘Come on guys, let’s not bicker.’
‘I’m not turning things around, I’m putting things in order.’
‘In your order, moron!’
‘ … with that Christmas-breakfast-look in your eyes …’
‘ … with those dirty wolf eyes of yours …’
‘ … those shrimp were never my thing … but then again … he always wants shrimp …’
‘ … oh … are you doing on purpose?! I don’t like shrimp at all … […] Dear, who always wants shrimp? Dear?”
‘Your father is right.’
‘So I’m lying?’
‘So I’m lying?’
‘I’m not saying that, but you always wanted shrimp.’
‘So I’m lying, then tell me I’m lying.’
‘Then say I’m lying!’
‘Well, that’s encouraging you know, your own mother making you out to be a liar. […] why am I still living here, anyway?’
‘Because you’re an imbecile who doesn’t dare go outside.’
Garcin turned 94.