Born March 4th 1955 in Saumur, France.
Who is he?
If you have never seen a Jean-Pierre Jeunet film, you may not know who is Dominique Pinon. He is the kind of small guy with a face. A face you would put on any character who deserves adjectives like: unsympathetic, mean, underhanded, petty, cowardly... Most of the roles he has played are just this kind. But behind the caricaturally stunning vision lie treasures of acting skills and sensitivity. You just have to browse through his filmography to realize how wide is Dominique Pinon's characters panel. Film directors worldwide should know by now that he can play anything. Not convinced yet? Just try The City of Lost Children and enjoy.
What did he do?
Finding about Dominique Pinon's youth on the Internet is still like finding the Holy Grail but I won't give up and will add any further info ASAP.
After trying university for a few years, Dominique Pinon chooses to become a comedian. Off to Paris, he enroles at the cours Simon, scratch pad of many a famous French actress and actor, such as Michelle Morgan, Nathalie Baye, Marie-Christine Barrault, Jean Reno, Michel Serrault and Michel Piccoli, to name a few. There, he meets Arthur Joffé, who makes him play his first short film in 1980 : La Découverte. They will work together again in 1982 for Merlin ou le cours de l'or and in 1990 for Alberto Express.
First big casting comes in 1981 when Dominique meets Jean-Jacques Beineix, who makes him play a cynical killer in Diva. The French cinema had just found a new face to put on antisocial and marginal characters, the kind of face you only see in Fellini or Audiard movies. It's the start of a long series of deviant characters for Dominique Pinon. From the alcoholic brother of Gérard Depardieu in La lune dans le caniveau, to a thug in La baston or a vagrant in Frantic, he's confined in supporting roles for too many years.
But his talents are to become more and more public as he gets nominated for the Most Promising Young Actor award at the Festival de Cannes in 1983. This is for his participation as a stubborn peasant in the excellent Le retour de Martin Guerre, starring Gérard Depardieu. He's not getting any award though and dreams of playing comic characters for a change. He's tired of naughty freaks and really wants to make people laugh. Theatre brings him what he was looking for, when he gets his first comic role in Une station-service by Gildas Bourdet. But public recognition still has to come, and Pinon remains unknown among the blockbusted masses...
His career as an actor really takes off in 1991 as he performs next to Jean-Claude Dreyfuss in Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro's first long film : Delicatessen. It's the start of a long term collaboration.
Pinon plays more important roles in "first films" for a few years, but they don't really achieve recognition. Among them are Les Arcandiers in 1991, Août in 1992, Je m'appelle Victor and La cavale des fous, both in 1993.
In 1995, Cannes' Festival opening movie is La cité des enfants perdus. In this new Jeunet and Caro's masterpiece, Dominique Pinon plays four different characters (cloned brothers indeed) with great maestria . Jean-Pierre Jeunet knows how to choose his actors and Pinon is his favourite. Never failing the director, Pinon comes back in 1997 for Alien: Resurrection on Sigourney Weaver's request, along with Ron Perlman. Recognition is international.
Success ensues in various movies such as Quasimodo D'El Paris in 1998, Sur un air d'autoroute in 2000 and obviously Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain in 2001. Pinon has become a new reference in modern French cinema.
Dead or Alive (2002) .... The Butcher
Se souvenir des belles choses (2002) .... Robert
Putain, la vieille faut pas l'énerver! (2001)
Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (2001) .... Joseph
Vestiaire obligatoire (2000) .... M. Muk
Sabotage! (2000) .... Armani
Sur un air d'autoroute (2000) .... Jacky Carpe
Der Pilot(1999) .... Pilot
Comme un poisson hors de l'eau (1999) .... Melvin
Quasimodo d'El Paris (1999) .... Trouillefou
Alien: Resurrection (1997) .... Vriess
Violetta la reine de la moto (1997) .... Adrien
Un samedi sur la terre (1996) .... Morel
La Cité des enfants perdus (1995) .... The diver/the clones
Stella plage (1993)
Je m'appelle Victor (1993) .... Bernard
La Cavale des fous (1993) .... Angel
Ma petite Mimi (1992) (TV) .... René
Août (1992) .... Eugène Blouzette
25 décembre 58, 10h36 (1991)
Les Arcandiers (1991) .... Bruno
Le Roi Mystère (1991) (mini) TV Series
Delicatessen (1991) .... Louison
Bleu marine (1990) .... Charles
1871 (1990) .... Napoléon III
Alberto Express (1990) .... The train driver
La Révolution française (1989) .... Jean-Baptiste Drouet (in Les Années Lumière)
Main pleine (1989) (TV) .... Chanier
La Leggenda del santo bevitore (1988) .... Woitech
The Mysterious Death of Nina Chereau (1988)
Frantic (1988) .... Wino
Des Teufels Paradies (1987)
Sauve-toi, Lola (1986) .... Jean-Pierre
Cent francs l'amour (1986) .... Tom
Suivez mon regard (1986) .... Frédéric
37°2 le matin (1986) .... Dope dealer (complete version)
Via Mala (1985) (mini) TV Series .... Niklas Laurentz
La Baston (1985)
Zina (1985) .... Pierre
Partir, revenir (1985)
Le Téléphone sonne toujours deux fois (1985) .... The teacher
Mon inconnue (1984)
Nemo (1984) .... Monkey
Le Cimetière des voitures (1983)
Ghost Dance (1983)
Si j'avais mille ans (1983)
La Lune dans le caniveau (1983) .... Frank
Merci Sylvestre (1983) TV Series
Merlin ou le cours de l'or (1982) .... The son
Le Retour de Martin Guerre (1982)
Tir groupé (1982) .... Daniel Verlot
Le Village sur la colline (1982) (mini) TV Series
Samantha (1981) (TV) .... Loulou
Diva (1981) .... The priest
La Découverte (1980) .... The young painter