Michael Lonsdale, on a journey with beauty

Michael Lonsdale's long career as an actor and comedian is significant. He died eight days ago at the age of 89. Some would say he "disappeared", ... 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 intonation and silence, fade away?

Michael Lonsdale has played under the direction of the greatest filmmakers (Mocky, Truffaut, Duras, Annaud) and we know his unforgettable interpretation of Brother Luc in Des hommes et des dieux by Xavier Beauvois. Stars can play with their egos, but it is not the glory that Michael Lonsdale was looking for. "The artist, he said, generally does this job because he is eager to express beauty, to do something good; he needs to transmit so that people might like him." He had made people laugh when he received the first César of his 140-film career: at the age of 80, receiving the trophy in his hands, he exclaimed: "Ah, there you are, you little rascal. It took you long enough" before he concluded with wisdom and applause: "Better late than never". 

In an interview with Laetitia de Traversay on RCF in 2012, Michael Lonsdale spoke of his passion for beauty combined with a deep and living faith. The actor sometimes perceived, in his profession, in playing great figures - such as Saint Seraphim of Sarov, and also in embracing the role of Brother Luke to Tiberine - that it was not he who was playing, but someone, a presence within him who said what he had to say, who did what was necessary ... 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 7am to 10pm, healed and generously gave his advice to anyone who wanted it. Between the walls and Tibherine's garden, which the film captures marvellously, the improvised dialogue still resounds, where he talks about love to a young Algerian woman, answering the question: "when do you know that you are really in love? ». It is not surprising that Michael Lonsdale embodies Brother Luc so much in this space where the monks have given their lives for love forever. We know the actor's humility and generosity, and his passion for the text of the Song of Songs in the Bible. Rembrandt's painting of the Prodigal Son was also his favourite work. With Michael Lonsdale, one is mysteriously on the way to the service of God and beauty, On the Way with Beauty.


Michael Lonsdale des hommes et des dieux