PIERRE PAR SES AMIS
« Pierre was my oldest and nicest friend in the movie business for so many years, beginning in the Sixties. I spoke to him recently on the phone about some of the things in the past. He sounded fine. I think that there will be many friends that will regret his passing. »
« I have such fond memories of Pierre, of the two of you together and of Pierre as the French producer as well as translator of Hearts and Minds. He made it possible for us to shoot in Paris, and then he made our film come alive at Cannes. He was a personification of energy, positive energy, and it made me feel better just to be in his presence. I’ve never forgotten his buoyant spirit and never will. »
« Pierre was an important person in my life, and a good man. My memories of our meeting and our work together, back in 1969, when he came to New York to work for Don Rugoff on Z and More, are vivid and special. It was Pierre who brought me to Paris and introduced me to the city and the film word… »
« The wonderful miracle of all this is that, as a small group of young people, we were blessed indeed with this wonderful family of friends for forty odd years. True friends, true family ! »
« … what I got was only immense culture, discretion, irony, the driest sense of humor of any man south of the Hanseatic League, acute insight, the rightful fatalism of what one at least one philosopher has called "disillusion with the finite," and the casual generosity of a person utterly indifferent to material possession or bourgeois aspiration.
(…) with me as I must suppose he was with others, he was modest to such an extreme degree that it was as though he could treat his own role and interest in a given circumstance with as much detachment as he could assign to another person, one with whom he was barely acquainted. (…)
Like many who love language and who are skilled with it, Pierre appreciated correctness even if he may have harbored a certain distaste for conventional correctness in many other aspects of life. Since it amused me to try out French slang on him, because slang was so linked to his experience of movies, I used slang words with him whenever I could, but once I ascribed the wrong gender to the word clope. Pierre knit his brow and looked far away as though he were debating with himself whether it would be worse to risk the intolerable presumption of pedagogy, or to fail to help a friend in blissful ignorance of his error. Finally, he chose the alternative with the greater measure of self-abnegation: "I think the way I most
often have heard it is une clope." »
« (…) I’ve never stopped thinking of him as a brother, one of the most lovable of men, one of the most brilliant, if also one of the more impossible, and no doubt to no one more than himself. (…) Nick used to say he’d have made a great director. I’m sure that’s so. He surely helped many great directors, including Nick, with an extraordinary generosity beneath his surface whimsy and cool. »
« Pierre, you changed my life ! »
« Pierre took me to the West End to see Jerry Lewis (he was 70) playing the Devil in Damn Yankees. I would have never got there by myself. (…) Well, the landscape will never be the same. Such a quick fearless thinker. I’m honoured I had such a good friend. »
« Pierre was… a witty and entertaining companion and colleague, but so modest about his earlier life that I only realized later what a truly multi-talented person he was, and the many ways in which he left his mark on some of the greatest years of French and American cinema.
The tribute to him organized at the Cinematheque a few years ago revealed to me how loved and admired he was by so many people. »
« D’abord, j’ai vu Pierre sur le tournage de Mes petites amoureuses (Martin, mon fils était mineur et je devais donc l’accompagner). Il y avait aussi Edith et leur bébé joufflu, leur fille de six mois, Emily, dans son landau, et Felicia Ferguson qui poussait ce landau devant l’atelier de cycles de Narbonne ! Tout me paraissait un peu flou à l’époque, et comme baignant dans une atmosphère de désir, et maintenant quand j’y pense, je crois que Pierre producteur, produisait du désir à tous les niveaux...
Autour de lui, les désirs se cristallisaient, et lui, il faisait semblant d’être immunisé, mais était en réalité absolument vulnérable, et tous nous l’étions. Il y eut des moments d’une intensité extraordinaire pendant ce tournage, et ensuite, l’intensité n’a jamais baissé quelles ques soient les circonstances (…)
Rue du Mont-Thabor, rue de Bourgogne, à Mill Valley, à San Francisco, à Los Angeles, à Paris et partout, les images de Pierre sont fortes et renversantes toujours... A San Francisco, au festival du film j’ai vu la foule s’agglutiner autour de lui. Il aimantait... à cause de sa grande intelligence, je crois, son érudition, son humour, sa modestie, quelque chose d’un dandy incroyablement séduisant... J’ai pu le voir assez souvent pour me rendre compte que tout le monde l’aimait énormément, d’un amour profond, très vif, très vrai ! Et je ne faisais pas exception ! »
« En matière de cinéma, certains sont des poids lourds, d’autres, tels, plume légère posée sur le chapeau. Essentielle . Essentiels. On peut dire que le cinéma français, dans son excellence, est à l’image de Pierre. Novateur. Libre. Sans consensus. Sans banalités. Intelligence et amour justes. Et, malgré les apparences (toujours trompeuses, surtout en ce qui le concerne) fidélité totale. Ainsi a-t-il aimé E. comme il a aimé le cinéma. Envol et profondeur. En fait, il fait partie de ces gens dont la présence silencieuse reste toujours habitée, de ce type de sensibilités peu communes qui laissent toujours ouvert un dialogue entamé. Où qu’il se trouve.»
« Pierre and I first met at the 1968 New York Film Festival where I worked. In 1970 I moved to Los Angeles where I encountered him from time to time – even in the 1990s. He was one of a kind.»
On reste con devant la mort qui tombe. On reste même con pour la vie. On pense plus encore à toutes les occasions manquées qu’aux chances que l’on a eu de partager.
Pierre reached out to people, whereas I was afraid. (…) Although he was only five years older, he possessed a wisdom beyond my imagination. Despite all his personal problems, Pierre made an art of living.