Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jean Rollin: The Collaborators (Hughes Quester)

In a career covering nearly four decades, prolific French actor Hughes Quester has tallied up an impressive sixty or so films with directors ranging from Eric Rohmer to Krzysztof Kieslowski. For Jean Rollin fans though Hughes Quester will always be known best as actor Pierre DuPont, the young man who co-starred with haunting Francoise Pascal in The Iron Rose.
Quester was born in early August of 1948. His first film role came as a bit part in 1969 with William Klein’s Mr. Freedom, an ambitious film starring Delphine Seyrig and Serge Gainsbourg (a man who would play an important part in Quester’s career down the road).
Quester would continue working as a bit player in films throughout the next few years before landing his first substantial role in director Yannick Bellon’s Quelque part quelqu'un in 1972 (a film finally released in the United States in 1979 as Somewhere, Someone).
Some television work would follow for Quester before he would land what has turned out to be one of his most memorable roles, as the nameless title character in Jean Rollin’s Le Rose de Fer. Sadly Quester and Rollin did not have a good working relationship, a fact detailed by Rollin in this interview with Peter Blumenstock that can be found in Video Watchdog 31 and Virgins and Vampires:

“I had a lot of problems with the lead actor, Hughes Quester. He didn’t like me, which was quite a problem, because there are only two persons in the film, so we had to work together all the time. This eventually led him to taking his name off the film, so now, Hughes Quester is credited as Pierre Dupont.”

Regardless of the problems behind the scenes, Quester is fine in his role as the doomed nameless young man, although few would argue that The Iron Rose is talented Francoise Pascal’s film all the way. Perhaps this is something Quester sensed while shooting the film. Whatever the problems were between Rollin and Quester, The Iron Rose has survived much longer than most of the other films the young actor shot in this period.
Quester continued to work steadily after his time with Rollin, including a solid turn for Serge Gainsbourg in 1975's audacious Je t’aime moi non plus opposite Jane Birkin and Joe Dallesandro. Many films and television roles followed before Quester struck cinematic gold in 1990 with his role as Igor in Eric Rohmer’s masterful A Tale of Springtime.
Quester would continue his late period resurgence with a role in Kieslowski’s incredible Three Colors: Blue in 1993 and in 2006 he would be awarded the distinguished Commander of Arts and Letters title from France for his long and noteworthy career.


Keith said...

I enjoyed this post. I always liked him. He made a lot of films in his long career that I've liked.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Keith...he's had quite a career.