Claude Laydu obituary

Admired actor with an instinctive presence and austere looks

One of the greatest performances in the history of film was given by Claude Laydu, in the title role of Robert Bresson's Journal d'un Curé de Campagne (Diary of a Country Priest, 1951). As a young, sickly priest unable to resolve the problems of his small parish, and assailed by self-doubt, Laydu, who has died aged 84, brought his own spirituality, instinctive presence and intense ascetic looks to the role. His portrayal prompted Jean Tulard to write in his Dictionary of Film that "no other actor deserves to go to heaven as much as Laydu".

This is even more remarkable given that Bresson declared that "Art is transformation. Acting can only get in the way", and that he called his actors "models" whom he trained to remove all traces of theatricality and to speak in a monotonic manner. Bresson chose the 23-year-old from among many candidates,

See full article on The Guardian - Film News