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Marc Allégret
© Danièle Allégret-Rosch

Emile COHL
Georges GLASS
Alice GUY
Jacques HAIK
Jacqueline JACOUPY
Bernard NATAN
Adolphe OSSO
Jean-Paul PAULIN
Michel SAFRA
Jacques TATI
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Born June 23, 1909 at Lunel Viel (Hérault)
His father was from Aveyron and his mother from Languedoc.

Until age five, his life was unremarkable. His mother owned a modest convenient store in Montpellier and had very little time to devote to her son. The same was true of his father, who managed a dairy with one of his brothers in Lunel. Young Georges spent a lot of time daydreaming and, when he had enough money, went to the cinema located near the convenience store, always buying the cheapest seats which were located behind the screen. He thus developed a passion for the cinema by watching inverted movies. In 1914 when the War broke out his father was enlisted. Everything darkened around the young boy. His mother was sad and cried very often. Everywhere people talked about war, but that word did not mean anything to the youngster. He dimly understood however, that the word brought unhappiness.

In February 1915, Georges's father was killed at Verdun at the age of thirty three. Georges was six. His mother had to sell the convenience store and set to work as a house cleaner. She decided to send her son to spend a few months with his uncle at the Farrebique farm in Goutrens. Here Georges met his cousins who welcomed him like a brother. He remained there for six months. Then, he returned to Montpellier and began school.

At age 14, he quit school and started to work in order to help his mother. He was hired as an apprentice in a Montpellier print shop. At age 16, he moved to Paris. His cousin Renée, who had just settled down there with her husband, the caricaturist Albert Dubouta, offered him a place to stay and helped him find a job. After a few misfortunes, he found a job as a typesetter at the Imprimerie du Droit in Choissy-le-Roi. Now that he was making a living he could take up his interest in movies again. He became a regular at what was then called the "temples of cinema"-Les Ursulines, the Ciné Latin, and later the Studio 28. He became an assiduous moviegoer, and started reading the film magazines he could lay his hands on. One day he read an interview of Eugene Deslaw. Deslaw explained how he had shot his "Symphonie des Machines" and added that the movie had cost him 2,500 francs. Rouquier reacted immediately: "2,500 francs! Then why shouldn't I make a movie?" In order to save that sum more quickly, he requested a night shift. Finally one day, he possessed 2,500 francs. He immediately left Paris for the south of France and shot "Vendanges" (1929). Despite a good review by Maurice Bessy, Rouquier was not satisfied.

Then talkies were born. Now that a lot more money was needed to make movies his dreams collapsed.

In 1942, thirteen years after "Vendanges," Rouquier's fortune turned when he met Etienne Lallier, a producer who accepted to fund "Le Tonnelier." The shooting was supposed to take place in the South. It was the time of German occupation of France. The country was divided in two parts, and it was not easy to cross the boarder between the German-occupied North and the Vichy-governed South. In 1943, at the Congrès du Film Documentaire, the movie "Le Tonnelier" was awarded the grand prize along with two other shorts. Meanwhile, Rouquier feared being enlisted in the compulsory labor service and sent to Germany. He decided to try his luck and become a full-time movie maker by accepting to make movies on commission. Thus, he shot three shorts that same year: "Le Charron," "La Part de L'Enfant," and "L'Economie des Métaux."

In 1944, Lallier offered him to direct a full-length movie about the four seasons. This turned into "Farrebique" which was awarded the Prix de la Critique Internationale at the 1946 Cannes Festival, as well as several other prizes, such as the Grand Prix du Cinéma Français, the Gold Medal in Venice, and the Golden Cob in Rome.

In 1948, he shot "L'Oeuvre Scientifique de Pasteur" with Jean Painlevé. After that movie, Rouquier attempted to direct a movie project about one of General Leclerc's most remarkable victories, "La Prise du Fort de Koufra." He did not succeed.

In 1949, he shot "Le Chaudronnier" and two years later "Le Sel de la Terre," a film about the Camargue region of France.

At about the same time, he directed two surgery movies with Professor Merle d'Aubigné.

In 1952, he shot "Un Jour Comme les Autres," a movie commissioned by the French office for the prevention of labor injuries, and "Le Lycée sur la Colline" commissioned by the Ministry of Education.

In 1953, he shot "Malgovert," a movie about the drilling of a gallery through the mountain that separated the Tignes dam from the town of Bourg St. Maurice.

Above all, he shot "Sang et Lumière," a feature length movie in color adapted from a novel by Joseph Peyré.

The 1955 shooting of "Honegger" was difficult because the composer to whom this documentary was devoted was seriously ill. The movie obtained the prize of art film at Venice in 1957.

Then came another short "La Bête Noire."on wild bore hunting in the forest of Sologne.

Between 1954 and 1955, he shot "Lourdes et ses Miracles," a 90-minute long documentary divided into three parts (Témoignages, Pèlerinage, and Imprévu). Rouquier's camera presents the events and leaves the viewer the task of forming his own opinion.

That same year Rouquier experienced the adventure of shooting a feature length fiction once more with "S.O.S. Noronha," a movie inspired by a true story-a radio control station off the Brazilian coast was attacked by convicts while French aviator Mermoz attempted to fly from Natal to Dakar with postal mail.

In 1957, Rouquier lent his voice to a movie by Chris Marker, "Lettre de Sibérie."

In 1958, he shot "Une Belle Peur," a movie about the prevention of childhood accidents, and "Le Bouclier," his third short about prevention and safety.

In Canada he shot "Le Notaire au Trois Pistoles," then in 1963 "Sire le Roy n'a plus rien dit."

From 1960 to 1965, Rouquier shot several movies commissioned by various ministries and public agencies, both in France and in Africa.

He finally appeared several times before the camera, playing the part of Voltaire in the movie "Mandrin" by J.P. Le Chanois and the doctor in "Nous n'irons plus au Bois" by G. Dumoulin.

In 1967, he appeared as Mathieu, the main caracter in "Pitchi Poi," a movie adapted from a book by François Billetdoux, broadcast in Eurovision in 17 European countries.

In 1968, he was Jeff in a movie by Jean Herman with Alain Delon, and he was the public prosecutor in the movie "Z" by Costa-Gavras. In 1972 he played the part of painter Battestini in "Le Secret des Flamands." Several years later, he played the role of another painter in Pierre Lary's "Léonard de Vinci."

In 1981, Rouquier played two characters-the role of Father Pivel in a television sitcom, then the role of a glassmaker in "L'Amour Nu" by Yannick Bellon.

In the years 1972-73, he produced the sitcom "Les Saisons et les Jours" for France's second television channel.

In 1976, he directed "Le Maréchal Ferrant," a documentary awarded the César du Court-Métrage du Documentaire.

And finally, in 1982, Rouquier directed "38 Ans Après," fulfilling his old dream of giving a sequel to "Farrebique." The movie was released as "Biquefarre.". It was awarded the special grand prize of the jury at the Venice festival in 1983.

Georges Rouquier died in Paris on December 19, 1989 at the age of 80.

 Maria Rouquier Signorini

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