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Over a long and varied career, Lambert Wilson has brought his versatile skills to all kinds of memorable movies, ranging from auteur features to Hollywood hits.
Clearly, a quite remarkable artistic personality, as Giona A. Nazzaro, artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, points out: “In the course of an extraordinary career, enriched by encounters with filmmakers of the caliber of Chabrol, Demy, Żuławski, Techiné, Resnais and so many others, Lambert Wilson has left a lasting mark on European and international cinema. Equipped with chameleon-like imitative gifts, he has established himself as one of the best-loved faces for audiences everywhere, moving effortlessly between stage, independent films and Hollywood powerhouses like the Matrix franchise. A versatile performer, willing to take risks, Wilson has always demonstrated an inexhaustible curiosity for the potential of the cinema. All of which makes him the ideal President of the Jury for this year’s Concorso internazionale at Locarno”.
Born into an acting family – his father Georges Wilson worked for over sixty years on stage, film and television – Lambert Wilson made his debut on the big screen aged only twenty, cast by Fred Zinnemann in Julia (1977). Over the following decade his face became familiar to mainstream audiences thanks to his many appearances on TV and to popular hits such as La boum 2 (1982), while Zinnemann once again brought him a hugely significant movie role in his career, alongside incestuous lovers Sean Connery and Betsy Brantley in Five Days One Summer (1982). Thanks to his work with directors such as Claude Chabrol, Andrzej Żuławski, André Téchiné, James Ivory, Andrzej Wajda, Luigi Comencini and Alain Resnais (in the musical comedy On connaît la chanson [Same Old Song], winner of the Silver Bear in Berlin in 1998), Wilson became a first-choice actor for great French and international filmmakers.
The new millennium saw Wilson successfully transition to the Hollywood blockbuster. In 2003 he became the Merovingian in the Wachowskis’ The Matrix Reloaded, reprising the role in The Matrix Revolutions, before going on to appear in Timeline (Richard Donner, 2003), the thriller Flawless (Michael Radford, 2007) with Michael Caine, the sci-fi feature Babylon A.D. (Mathieu Kassovitz, 2008) and Dante 01 (Marc Caro, 2008). Other stand-out titles in his career include Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men, Xavier Beauvois, 2010), winner of the Grand Prix in Cannes; La princesse de Montpensier (The Princess of Montpensier, Bertrand Tavernier, 2010); the comedy drama Alceste à bicyclette (Bicycling with Molière, Philippe Le Guay, 2013); Ernest et Célestine (Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner, 2012) – as the voice of Ernest the bear; Le confessioni (The Confessions, Roberto Andò, 2016), The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski, 2021) and Benedetta by Paul Verhoeven (2021). Also, in 2021 he appeared in the TV series Totems (Olivier Dujols, Juliette Soubrier) on Amazon Prime, and more recently he starred in Les Choses simples (Éric Besnard, 2023).
The Jury of the Concorso internazionale chaired by Lambert Wilson will award the Pardo d’oro on the closing night of the Festival, Saturday 12 August.
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