Denis Lavant  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Denis Lavant (born 17 June , 1961) is a French film actor known for his distinctive face and the physically demanding aspects of the roles he plays, which often involve slapstick, acrobatics or dance, as well as for his long-standing association with director Leos Carax. Lavant has played the lead role in all but one of Carax's films.

Lavant is also known for his starring roles in Claire Denis' Beau Travail and Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely, which features Carax in a supporting role.


Lavant was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine in France. Lavant began acting professionally in 1982 and appeared in minor roles before making his breakthrough in 1984 as the lead in Boy Meets Girl, the directorial debut of Leos Carax, with whose films he has been associated ever since. In 1986, Lavant and Carax worked together again on the thriller Mauvais Sang and again in 1991 on Carax's third film, The Lovers on the Bridge. In both Mauvais Sang and The Lovers on the Bridge, Lavant starred opposite Juliette Binoche. In 1998, Lavant appeared in the iconic Jonathan Glazer-directed video for the UNKLE song Rabbit in Your Headlights, and in 1999, he played one of the lead roles in Beau Travail, directed by Claire Denis. In 2007, he appeared in Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely, in which he portrayed a Charlie Chaplin impersonator. Lavant, who does not speak English, took an intensive language course in preparation and learned his lines phonetically. His longtime associate Leos Carax appears in a supporting role as the main character's talent agent.

In 2008, Lavant and Carax re-united for the anthology film Tokyo!, which marked their first work together since Lovers on the Bridge and Carax's first major directing work in nearly a decade. Carax's segment for the film, called "Merde," starred Lavant as a violent monster who lives in the sewers of Tokyo and speaks in a gibberish language, venturing out occasionally to attack passerby.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Denis Lavant" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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