Raphaël Quenard, crowned male revelation of the year at the 2024 César Awards, new star of French cinema?

Raphaël Quenard went, in a few months, from the status of a young actor confined to supporting roles to that of a rising star of French cinema.

France Télévisions – Culture Editorial



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French actor Raphaël Quenard wins Best Male Revelation Prize for the film "Dog of the breakage" during the 49th edition of the César du cinéma ceremony at the Olympia in Paris on February 23, 2024. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

The career of Raphaël Quenard crowned male revelation of the year for Dog of the breakage during the 49th César ceremony on Friday, has experienced a meteoric rise in recent months.

Star of the 49th César ceremony, he was also in the running for the best actor statuette for Yannick and for a short film that he co-directed (The actor or the surprising virtue of incomprehension).

In Dog of the breakage, crowned Friday best first film, the 32-year-old actor plays Mirales, a young man who hangs out jogging in his small village in the south of France. This first film on rural youth, by Jean-Baptiste Durand, provided a showcase for the actor, with his inimitable chat, who some have already compared to Patrick Dewaere.

“It’s clear that things are moving for me”

“I have a phrase that I heard: ‘Our lives are punctuated with suffering and sorrow. But the most terrible of them is to see us every day trying to suffocate the little child who is in us'”he declared on stage, receiving his prize.

In 2023, he was also Yannick for Quentin Dupieux, an angry theater spectator who takes the actors to task in the middle of the performance of a play. “It’s clear that things are moving for me”replied the actor to AFP in July upon the release of the feature film Cash on Netflix.

If Jérémie Rozan, the director of Cashdo not hesitate to see in him “a great actor”, Raphaël Quenard is only just beginning. His first role as a headliner, he landed it “the knife between the teeth” For Dog of the breakage (102,000 entries). “I harassed and sent an astronomical amount of emails. He (the director, Editor’s note) couldn’t take it anymore at the end.” “He’s someone who has a big dark side but who can’t be summed up as that”, he assured with his unique phrasing: slow and jerky, all delivered by a nasal voice.

Almost at the same time was released in theaters I will always see your faces (more than a million entries) by Jeanne Herry. The messy-haired actor, who played an incestuous brother, only played a small role but in a key scene in the film.

“It’s still a little early to say but I think it’s this film that helped me make myself known”said the one who was spotted in 2018 in the series HPbefore continuing the filming (Fragile, Smoking makes you cough, November) in minor roles. From, “there are more proposals, many more opportunities (…)”he explained.

Many lives

Born in 1991 in the suburbs of Grenoble where he grew up, the actor has had several lives. As a child, he first imagined himself as a footballer, then as a soldier, before studying chemistry, notably in England. When he returned to France, he made a radical change. Exit chemistry, make way for acting. “It’s enjoyable to say to yourself that you can be anything: a mechanic, a chemist, a teacher… No need to choose anymore”he joked.

But the road to the 7th art was long. It is by the association 1,000 faces, founded by the director of Divine, Houda Benyamina, that he made his first steps. This association helps to integrate young people from priority neighborhoods and rural areas into the cinema. “We saw each other three times a week. We worked on texts and did improv,” he confided.

Express training which allows him to have his first roles. “Before that, I had made somewhat underground short films. The association allowed me to come into contact with young directors and to have my first paid roles”he said.

If he combines genres, he claims his taste for a “popular and demanding cinema, too often wrongly equated with mediocrity”.

Homage to the peasant world

“As the grandson of a farmer, I wanted to say that culture, like everything else, is nothing without agriculture” declared the actor during the César ceremony.

He then expressed his “infinite respect to all these people who work hard to give us every day, offer us the luxury of filling our stomachs with good fruits, good vegetables, good cereals of French quality”.

After a message addressed to his family, who “accompanied every day”he then humbly declared: “Even so, this is only a hopeful realization, a revelation, so there remains everything to be done, and I take note of that.”

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