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Michael Lonsdale, on the way with beauty.

Michael Lonsdale’s long career as an actor and comedian is remarkable. He died eight days ago at the age of 89. Some would say, he “extinguished”, … and yet! How can the peace of a face and the light of the eyes disappear? The music of the soul and a deep voice, playing in intonations and silence, die out?

Michael Lonsdale has played under the direction of the greatest filmmakers (Mocky, Truffaut, Duras, Annaud) and we know his unforgettable interpretation of Frère Luc in Of men and gods by Xavier Beauvois. Stars can play with their egos, but that’s not the glory Michael Lonsdale was looking for. “The artist, he said, generally does this job because he wants to express beauty, to do something good; he needs to transmit so that we may like him”. He had made people laugh, when receiving the first César of his career at 140 films: at the age of 80, receiving the trophy in his hands, he exclaimed: “Ah, there you are, little rascal. You took your time!” before concluding wisely and to applause: “Better late than never”.

On RCF, in 2012, in an interview with Laetitia de Traversay, Michael Lonsdale spoke of his passion for beauty combined with a deep and living faith. The actor sometimes perceived, in his profession, by interpreting great figures – like Saint Seraphim of Sarov, and also by embracing the role of Brother Luke in Tibherine – that it was not he who was playing, but someone, a presence within him that said what he had to say, that did the right thing… The road was all mapped out. The experience of filming ” Of Gods and Men was unforgettable and still very close for the actor, nourished by the presence and life of the monk doctor who, until the age of 82, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., treated and generously dispensed his advice to whomever wanted. Between the walls and Tibherine’s garden, which the film captures wonderfully, the improvised dialogue still resonates in which he speaks of love to a young Algerian girl, answering the question: ” when do we know that are we really in love? ” It is not surprising that Michael Lonsdale embodies so much Brother Luke in this space where the monks gave their life for ever out of love. We know the humility and generosity of the actor, and his passion for the text of the Song of Songs in the Bible. Rembrandt’s The Prodigal Son was also his favorite work. With Michael Lonsdale, we are mysteriously on the way to the service of God and beauty, On the way with beauty.

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