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Amidou posters


August 2, 1935

Birth Sign




Little known by the general public, Moroccan-born Amidou can nevertheless boast an onstage and on screen career spanning almost five decades. Appearing in French films most of the time, he also worked in Morocco, in Tunisia and in American action movies like William Friedkin's 'The Sorcerer' and 'Rules of Engagement', John Frankenheimer's 'Ronin' and Tony Scott's 'Spy Game'. Good-looking and charming, Amidou can easily become frightening and threatening. He is as convincing in the role of a friendly blue collar in 'Smic Smac Smoc' as in that of a dim-witted henchman in 'Fleur d'Oseille'. To be fair, he appeared more often as a dropout or a thug than as positive figure, but this is due to the fact that he started his career in the nineteen sixties, when French cinema was not yet ready to show a North African as just another citizen. Had Amidou debuted later he would have landed more rewarding roles like those now interpreted by Roschdy Zem or Sami Bouajila. Born in 1942 in Rabat, Amidou Ben Messaoud was the son of a justice of the peace and the nephew of the owner of several movie theaters, which gave him the opportunity to see lots of films. read more

On the other hand, the young boy discovered at school that, although he was a bad pupil, he could captivate an audience when, during French lessons, he told and mimicked fables by La Fontaine. Later on, he studied drama at the Conservatoire de Paris and was immediately hired by Jean-Louis Barrault in 1961. Noticed by Jean Genet while he was rehearsing for a bit part, he was given the role of Said instead. At the same time, Claude Lelouch gave him his first part in 'Le Propre de l'Homme' Amidou would then appear in nine other films directed by Lelouch, who also gave him his only starring role in a French movie entitled 'La Vie, l'Amour, la Mort', a pamphlet against the death penalty. Kept busy by the big screen, Amidou was less active in the theatre but played a one man show in the late 1990s ('Le Piston') and held the lead in Mehdi Charef's '1962' in 2005. He also occasionally appeared on TV. Lately Amidou has been honored twice - and quite deservedly so. He was indeed awarded two best actor prizes, one at the Cairo International Festival, for Leila Triquie's 'Poursuite' (2005) and the other at the Tangiers Film Festival for 'Ici et Là' by Rachid Boutounès (2005)

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