Jacques Becker

Born: 15 September 1906, Paris
Died: 1960

Introduction

As an assistant to Jean Renoir in the 1930s, Becker drew from his mentor a fondness for realism and an unwavering sense of human decency.

He became a director during the Occupation, showing an aptitude for taking on familiar genres – comedy, film noir, social drama – and putting his own spin on them.

Films such as Casque d’or and Touchez pas au grisbi reveal a generous attitude to people of dubious morality, for Becker was always more interested in human complexity than plots, and he showed his working-class characters in a more sympathetic light than the brittle bourgeoisie.

Few filmmakers have matched his love of Frenchness, and in particular the city of Paris.

Becker’s films have benefited from several restorations, unveiling a director of rare passion and invention.

Highlighted works

  • ANTOINE ET ANTOINETTE

    A joyous marriage is affected by a winning lottery ticket that goes astray.

  • FALBALAS

    Jacques Becker’s seductively energetic look at the world of haute couture.

  • RENDEZ-VOUS DE JUILLET

    One of the finest films about postwar St Germain, where philosophy, theatre and jazz thrived.

  • DERNIER ATOUT

    Two ambitious policemen compete with each other to solve a mysterious murder in a grand hotel.

  • CASQUE D'OR

    Becker’s most-loved film, about a golden-haired woman who finds a new lover, is probably his masterpiece.

  • GOUPI MAINS ROUGES

    The Goupi are a corrupt family who all come under suspicion when one of them is murdered for her money.

  • ÉDOUARD ET CAROLINE

    Becker’s offbeat comedy about a failing marriage is surprisingly dark at times.

  • Le TROU

    Becker’s outstanding parting gift to cinema is this gripping tale of a prison escape.

  • MONTPARNASSE 19

    The story of dissolute painter Modigliani (Gérard Philippe) and the women in his life.

  • Touchez pas au grisbi

    A haunting, witty and masterful film about honour and ageing, starring Jean Gabin.

  • La Grande Illusion

    La Grande Illusion

    Jean Renoir’s pacifist classic is set in a German prisoner-of-war camp during WWI, where class kinship is felt across national boundaries.

Filmography

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