Cyril Collard was a French filmmaker
. His first novel was Condamné amour
(1987) followed by Les nuits fauves
(1989) and L'ange sauvage
, (1993) - all part of a thinly disguised autobiography. A collection of poems is also available L'animal
: Flammarion, 1994.
Collard published Savage Nights, his autobiographical novel of a bisexual man's voracious appetite to live life to its fullest. Although Jean is HIV-positive, he refuses let the virus modify his lifestyle. He fails to tell the seventeen-year-old Laura, with whom he is having unprotected sex, the truth of his illness.
He later writes her, "Seeing one hand holding another caused me incredible pain; more than you can imagine. In a few seconds, it summed up everything you expect of
me that I can't give you. . . . I've searched for that feeling for years, through hundreds of nights, with hundreds of bodies. I don't want you to go through that. I want you to find it: a hand holding yours."
And he later reflects, "Laura's gone. Tonight, Olivier will sleep next to me. Sammy calls; tomorrow, it'll be him. I'm passive. Events follow one another. I submit to them."
Collard directed the film version of Savage Nights simplifying many of the novel's complexities, in which, after some deliberation, he played himself as Jean, with Romane Bohringer as Laura and Carlos Lopez as Samy. The film sparked a very public controversy since the "real" Laura had been infected with HIV, whether by
Collard or another remains unknown, and had died of an AIDS-related illness.
Cyril Collard died of AIDS just 72 hours before the film of his autobiographical novel in March 1993 won four Cesars, the French Oscars: Best Film, Best First Film,
Best Film Editing, and Best Female Newcomer, Romane Bohringer.