Ode to Marcel

Ode to Marcel
Pierre Clementi in Belle de Jour (1967)

He had a legend, the aura of genius, a friend to the mysterious and the strange. I arrived full of holy terror and mad hope all at the same time. I was struck immediately by one thing, only one: he’s a man of whom you only see the face. The fabulous mouth, worked by life, heavily wrinkled skin, the driven eyes, but in their black ring, a sparkling light. I was incapable of saying a word, I don’t even remember if it was a production office, an apartment, a hotel room. I looked at the deep earth of his face, the clear water of his regard. They told me ‘Speak loudly, we don’t know if he’s deaf or if he pretends to be . . .’ But how to speak? I repeated to myself ‘Come on. You have to speak.’ I thought that my silence and my insistence on staring would become intolerable. Someone else would surely have addressed me, would have started to speak, if only to reduce the tension a little. He was content to just look at me. Simply, directly, as if we had met there for a mutual exam and that words weren’t necessary. A guy walked in, perhaps an assistant, I can’t remember. Buñuel turned towards me. ‘This is Clémenti. Show him the script.’ If I understood properly, I had just been hired for Belle de Jour…With no other director did I have such a feeling of confidence.
– Pierre Clémenti on Luis Buñuel and his role in Belle de Jour from his book Quelques Messages Personnels

My favorite character in Louis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour is Pierre Clémenti’s wonderful turn as the sexy thug Marcel. Pierre Clémenti was a beautiful and talented actor who appeared in many great films before his untimely death in 1999 including The Leopard (1963), Benjamin (1968), Les Idoles (1968), Partner (1968), The Conformist (1970), Sweet Movie (1974), La Cicatrice intérieure (1972) , Steppenwolf (1974), Quartet (1981) and Belle de Jour (1967).

I haven’t written anything substantial about Pierre Clémenti yet, so I thought I’d take the opportunity provided by Flickhead’s Buñuel Blog-a-thon to post a photographic tribute to Pierre Clémenti’s character Marcel in Belle de Jour, which was haphazardly put together from various screen shots I recently took from the film.

Ode to Marcel . . .

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

Belle de jour (1967)

To view more screen shots from Luis Buñuel’s film please see my Flickr Belle De Jour Gallery.

Recommended Links and References:
The Passion of Pierre Clémenti: European cinema’s christ-devil child
Pierre Clémenti at Paris dans les années 70 (French language fan site)
Pierre Clémenti – Acteur réalisateur (French language fan site)

My Buñuel Blog-a-thon Contributions:
What’s in the Box?
Ode to Marcel
The Fine Art of Fashion: Yves Saint-Laurent

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6 thoughts on “Ode to Marcel

  1. Gautam says:

    Hey is it just me or is it that irish actor Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Sunshine) bears a striking resemblance to Pierre Clémenti as pictured above?

  2. Joe D says:

    He is my favorite character as well. The metal teeth are incredible and he is like someone out of Sade. Taking whatever he wants sheerly for his own pleasure. Alo the way he looks, so young, so evil in an unorthodox way. He’s like Peter Pan with a pistol and a hard on.

  3. Keith says:

    I thought Pierre as Marcel was awesome in the film. He has this young and wicked look going on. The metal teeth are cool. They add to the look of his character. He was brilliant in this film. I love the pics you posted.

  4. cinebeats says:

    Thanks for the comments! I’m glad you all enjoyed my “ode to Marcel.”

    Gautam – I actually like Cillian Murphy a lot, but he’s no Pierre Clémenti yet. One can only hope…

    Joe – He’s like Peter Pan with a pistol and a hard on.
    That has to be one of the best descriptions of Marcel that I’ve ever read! Thanks for adding this fantastic quote to my “Ode to Marcel.”

    Keith – I often wondered if all the modern gangsters with their metal teeth owe some kind of dept to Marcel? Who was the first gangster with metal teeth? Why are metal teeth so popular with gangsters?

    And last but not least, why do I find Marcel’s metal teeth so damn sexy? 😉

  5. Yana K. says:

    Thank you for posting the pictures 🙂 He
    was an amazingly good looking guy! I truly enjoyed the movie… To me he was like a wild-child… such a sweet angelic-looking guy with a demonic soul! He played his character really well. Although i cannot physically compare him to Cillian Murphy. They are just too different… like dark and light 😉

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