FRENCH PREMIERE MAGAZINE
From Cyrano to Indochine, he has mapped out a course in success with films that have given him the image of a young lover. For Alexandre Jardin, Vincent was the actor he had always dreamed of.
Young girls don't trust his "ideal son-in-law" look. Sure, he has good features - his face, lips, hair, thin silhouette and relaxed elegance; but in his pretty head there are enough ideas to make his thoughts travel far away. So many times we have seen him dressed up in ancient costumes (Cyrano, Fracasse, Indochine) that we would be almost surprised to see him in a suit.
"I have the impression that producers and directors feel that I can easily travel in time, that I don't have a modern attitude. Maybe this comes from my past in the theater world."
Indeed, he's the same young guy triumphing in 1988 in Avignon, starring in Chereau's Hamlet. A modern guy so often working in the past, he almost could bless Alexandre Jardin who gave him the character of Alexandre in Fanfan. A movie without a horse, nor a sword, nor a big hat, but with kisses, a charleston and a scene where our hero slips under the shoulder pads of a theatric Franz Josef.
"This film pushes you to better appreciate the person sharing your life. The whole movie is about two people meeting. It's a couple with a future, a nice example of innocence."
Having just finished his role in Fanfan, Vincent will take on the role of La Mole in Queen Margot with more duels and gallops. Once again, he is the lover. But it is not a beautiful love story because he sacrifices himself.
Vincent must know a lot about love because he is always the lover. Tell us, Vincent, what love is.
"Why does love make us suffer? It doesn't make sense! We discover we are unable to love. I've only met a few people really able to love, me included. So everyone makes a gigantic effort and it's a bit disgusting. The only way of loving correctly is loving without wanting to possess, without wanting to change the other person into our ideal image. We are not educated to love, but only to be sad."
His glance, sometimes green, sometimes gray, always light, lets golden glitters get through and his mouth cannot stop. "Why do people waste their time reading stupid magazines instead of trying to understand each other?"
True, we ask ourselves the same thing. Vincent moves. He can't stand still. He has lots of things to say, many words inside, nerves on the surface, lots of sensitivity and too many childhood silences in his past.
"I only started to express myself at 20 as many do."
Before living in Paris, Vincent Perez lived a bit sadly in Switzerland where where nature was his only friend. As an apprenctice photographer, he lived in the dark room.
"I will always remember when I was 15. I left school quite early so I could get up at 5:30 am to go to work."
He overcame loneliness when Painter Pierre Gisling became his mentor and friend, teaching him his first ideas in art; thus, opening the window with a view of imagination whereby this shy teenager felt he had sprouted wings of a butterfly. He read Rilke's Letters by a Young Poet and at school he performed in successful shows as well as directed some.
"I grew up with one big desire: live many lives many different times. I discovered that movies allowed all this, and I learned that in order to work in movies, you had to go through theater, that's it's a true profession. And I couldn't speak about this passion for the theater with anyone, especially not with my family, not even with my friends."
He then speaks about how the members of the jury at the Paris Conservatory accepted him unanimously. He began living very fast, in the present, better now than tomorrow. He was 18. Switzerland seemed far away! After two and a half years, six months before the final exams, he left.
" I acted, I saw myself acting and I hated myself. "
So he went to the Amandiers' School to work with Patrice Chereau and Pierre Romans. Once again, he was accepted unanimously. Was this just a habit or was he really talented?
Film and theater were at his feet - on a stage where Gerard Philippe once performed or on a big technicolor screen with excellent partners. From Chekov to Depardieu, from Von Kleist to Deneuve, people saw him act and the sadness disappeared. Movies made him travel: Cyrano - Hungary, Fracasse - Rome, Indochine - well, you can guess where.
1992 was a happy year. Vincent received the Jean Gabin prize and directed his first short movie, L'echange, five minutes of a pure and beautiful emotion chosen for the Cannes Film Festival.
"I want to express myself. Right now I am writing the script for a full-length movie, but the problem is I do not know what it is about. Before looking for a screenwriter, I need to wait until a true need arises for me to make a movie. I don't want to start with false reasons such as wanting to be a director. I have things to say and an actor is just a vehicle; but it's beautiful being a vehicle."
Presently Vincent is re-reading Krishnamurti, a smart saga. And it makes him thoughtful. He speaks about memory, that one has to learn how to forget about falseness of religions, about violence, reality, fear, happiness, about his life during the past seven months with Carla, his girlfriend. His short beard makes him look like an apostle. Actually it's La Mole's beard. But already following Margot, you see Manolete's costume. The life of the celebrated bullfighter will be filmed in English by Meno Meyes. Vincent will star with Edward J. Olmos and Ann Bancroft. He's already spent three weeks training in Nimes. He even fought with a young bull; he's very proud about it.
At sixteen, Vincent Perez was afraid of settling down and spending his life exchanging courtesies instead of true feelings. At 29 (on June 10th) he communicates his true feelings.
[With special thanks to Cinzia Masina for her translation]