France pays tribute to Michel Bouquet at the Invalides this Wednesday

The ceremony, open to the public and in the presence of the actor’s family and loved ones, should begin at 4 p.m.

Monument of French theater who died on April 13 at the age of 96, Michel Bouquet receives this Wednesday a national tribute chaired by Emmanuel Macron, for what constitutes his first public outing since his re-election.

The Head of State will deliver the eulogy at the Hôtel national des Invalides, after speeches by Fabrice Luchini, Muriel Robin, who was a pupil of Michel Bouquet at the Conservatoire, and Pierre Arditi.

The ceremony, which should begin at 4 p.m., will be open to the public, in the presence of the family and relatives of the actor.

Cesar for best actor

Unforgettable in The king is dying by Ionesco – which he played no less than 800 times – and in The Miser of Molière, Michel Bouquet died on April 13 after more than 75 years of career.

He had also marked the cinema by embodying an astonishing Mitterrand on the evening of his life in The Walker of the Champ-de-Mars by Robert Guédiguian (2005). This role earned him the César for best actor, after that received a few years earlier for Anne Fontaine’s film how i killed my father (2002).

On screen, he also played secret characters in Claude Chabrol’s films (The unfaithful wife in 1969, Chicken In Vinegar in 1985), performed under the direction of François Truffaut (The bride was in black in 1967, and The Mississippi Mermaid in 1968) and was a masterful Javert, the inspector chasing Jean Valjean in Wretched by Robert Hossein (1982).

unreal world

But it was for the theater that this giant of the stage displayed his preference, making the work of Harold Pinter known in France and putting himself at the service of great classical texts (Molière, Diderot or Strindberg) and contemporary texts (Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, Albert Camus or Thomas Bernhard).

“For seven decades, Michel Bouquet brought theater and cinema to the highest degree of incandescence and truth, showing the man in all his contradictions, with an intensity that burned the boards and burst the screen. A sacred monster has left us”, reacted President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter to the announcement of the death.

Born on November 6, 1925 in Paris, the son of an officer who had become a prisoner of war, Michel Bouquet owed his love of performing to his mother, who regularly took him to the Opéra Comique.

“Each time the curtain rose, there was no longer the horror of the war, there were no longer the Germans around (…), the unreal world far exceeded the real world. That was the best lesson of my life,” he told AFP in 2019.