He had played thugs, sadists, cops … Philippe Nahon, “mouth” of French cinema and faithful to Gaspar Noé (“Carne”, “Seul contre tous”), died this Sunday, April 19, of the Covid-19. He was 81 years old.
A face that told everything about the history of its characters, a hoarse voice, a crazy charisma … Philippe Nahon had been part of French cinema for almost 50 years. He passed away this Sunday, April 19, at the age of 81, from the aftermath of the Covid-19.
Philippe Nahon landed his first role on screen in 1961 for Le Doulos by Jean-Pierre Melville. The revolutionary effervescence of the 1970s pushed him to play in films with committed themes such as Les Camisards (1970) or Le Pull-over rouge (1979). His ability to take on characters from the patibular mine or from popular extraction earned him numerous proletarian roles as in Les Anges gardiens (1995), Les Couloirs du temps, les visitors 2 (1997), Le Poulpe (1998). Playing the policeman as in La Haine or the bastard in Sauve-moi (1999) seems to be registers in which he excels.
Faithful of Gaspar Noé
It is besides the dyptique Carne (1991) and Seul contre tous (1997) under the direction of Gaspar Noé where he plays a disturbing racist butcher completely desperate, who offers him one of the determining roles of his career. Since the early 90s, Philippe Nahon has been approaching the rising generation of French directors, including Gaspar Noé of course but also Mathieu Kassovitz (Hatred, Les Rivières Pourpres), Jacques Audiard for A very discreet hero and Christophe Gans for Le Pacte des loups.
Nahon continues its momentum in the 2000s and finds his accomplice Gaspar Noé for an appearance in the sulphurous Irreversible, which triggered a real scandal during the Cannes Film Festival in 2002. His massive physique and his sinister mine make new recipe in High tension, the thriller horrific of Alexander Aja and the nightmare Calvary. In addition to these disturbing roles, he imposes his Parisian cheekiness in lighter registers like in the comedy A la petite semaine by Sam Karmann or in Virgil.
A multi-genre actor, he has preserved over the course of his career the diversity that defines him and thus alternates TV movies (Les Prédateurs, En chantier Monsieur Tanner), series (Kaamelott) and short films (Zero two, Vieillesse Ennemie). He did not abandon the big screen and he knew a multitude of participations in productions, often French, with varying budgets. This is how it is found in more modest productions like Cowboy in 2005, but also in expected films, such as The Second Breath (2007) or MR 73 (2008). After having lent his voice for the adaptation of the cartoon Dragon hunters in 2008, he took part in two horrific French genre films the following year: Humains and Lady Blood. 2010 makes him put on multiple caps again: he is present in no less than five projects including Adèle Blanc-Sec by Luc Besson, Enter the Void where he finds his favorite director Gaspar Noé, and La Meute by Franck Richard.
The trailer for Alone Against All: