Bacri, Jean-Pierre

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BACRI, JEAN-PIERRE (1951– ), French actor, playwright, and screenwriter. Bacri was born in Castiglione (French Algeria), where his father was a mailman and part-time worker at the local movie theater. The family moved to Cannes at the end of Algeria's war of independence war and Bacri began to write copy for an advertising company in Paris in 1976 while studying theater at the prestigious Cours Simon and writing his first comedies, including the 1980 Le grain de sable, which was awarded the Tristan Bernard Prize. He began to make a name for himself as an actor in Alexandre Arcady's feature film Le Grand Pardon, dealing with the Jewish-Algerian mafia, and in Luc Besson's Subway (1985), where he established his trademark character, taciturn and grouchy but sensitive. After collaborating regularly with satiric playwright Jean-Michel Ribes, Bacri went on to create several witty, ironic, and biting but humanistic comedies, co-written with his wife, Agnes Jaoui, which became tremendous popular successes that were adapted for the screen: Cuisines et dépendances (1993) and Un air de famille (1995). The couple also adapted two plays by Alan Ayckbourn for the screen, Smoking and No Smoking, for renowned avant-garde film director Alain Resnais (1993). The collaboration with Resnais later gave birth to the musical comedy On connait la chanson (1997), a witty exploration of French popular culture. Actor and co-screenwriter in Agnes Jaoui's first movies, Le goût des autres (2002) and Comme une image (2005), Bacri was also worked in films by Sam Karmann, Alain Chabat, Nicole Garcia, and Claude Berry, establishing himself as one of France's most popular actors.

[Dror Franck Sullaper (2nd ed.)]