Monday, 28 July 2014

Who is Tina? A short (and complete) biography...

Who is Tina?

A short (and complete) biography...

Maria Christina Aumont (aka Tina Aumont) was born the 14 February 1946 in Hollywood, California. She was of French Jewish and Dominican descent, the daughter of actors Jean-Pierre Aumont and Maria Montez. Jean Cocteau wrote a poem for her birth “La Fille aux étoiles” and Marlene Dietrich sang lullabies while cradling her.
At the age of only five Tina suddenly lost her mother, who died of a reported heart attack in the bath at their family home in France. Later she said about her mother in an interview: “I regret not to remember her clearly, because I was too little when she died. Even though I have a living mental image of her, which I attribute to, while years were passing, her remembrance was always close to me through the conversations with my father, my aunts, my uncle François, well, from my whole family.” During her teen years and the first years of her youth, Tina lived simultaneously with her paternal uncle and his wife and with her father, who made a new home. Five years after Maria Montez death, Jean-Pierre got married again with the Italian actress Marisa Pavan, twin-sister of Pier Angeli. The relationship between Tina and Marisa wasn't good. Tina was sent off to school in Switzerland. She re-emerged a few years later into a Paris of the early 60s where she soon set about finding congruous souls to soothe the cravings of her tearaway heart.


 An olympian libertine, Christian Marquand (b. 1927) had met Tina through Roger Vadim and, encouraged by her father who was concerned for his daughter’s new lifestyle, married her in October 1963 when she was only 17, at a family residence in Provence. Tina was on the cover of Paris-Match. Their wedding guest list read like a who’s who of ‘the scene’. The more well-known faces like Brando had to shuffle around in heavy disguise to avoid the French tabloid menagerie that had crawled in. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were kept in a neighbouring village.
Meanwhile Jean-Pierre Aumont had already taken care of acting lessons for Tina in New York with Stella Adler. Fresh from her training Tina scored a role in Joseph Losey’s Modesty Blaise in 1966, which led her and Christian to London where they took a flat which soon acquired the same party central status as their place in Paris. While in London, Marquand threw a swanky party for Bob Dylan when he arrived in town. Tina was hanging out with Anita Pallenberg, Brian Jones and Marianne Faithfull among others. Tina’s favourite concert experience was seeing The Who throw their destructive stage power around.
For Tina, Brian Jones’s death marked the close of the London sixties. She’d been very fond of him and like many others in their circle felt that something important about the period had died with Brian. During one of the more intense patches in Jones and Pallenberg’s feisty relationship, Jones turned up at Tina and Christian’s flat convinced that Anita was taking refuge in one of the closets, and woudn’t leave till he had searched the entire place for her.
With Modesty Blaise in the can, Tina went on to film Texas Across The River (1966) with Dean Martin and Alain Delon, but her private life was not so rosy. It was around this time that her marriage to Christian began to show cracks. She had a miscarriage which he seemed to blame her for, and within weeks their three year marriage was over.

But before long she had fallen for and moved in with the heavenly psychedelic painter Frédéric Pardo. With Frédéric Pardo many friends believed Tina had found her spiritual soulmate and their relationship was often remarked upon as one of intense closeness, characterised by private jokes, shared interests and grand passion. Their apartment in Paris was widely adored, both for its highly unusual décor (a combination of their exotic tastes) and for the like-minded people they drew to them. The circle that gravitated to Tina and Frédéric’s Paris apartment included visitors from Warhol’s Factory, London friends and the rebel caravan of Parisian actors and musicians. Evenings at the apartment would often include visits from Pierre Clémenti, Zouzou, Anita Pallenerg… Musician Valérie Lagrange said “She was sublime, majestic. They lived in the first psychedelic apartment I’d ever seen, with black lights, Moroccan fabrics and cushions. They lived on the carpets: no table or chairs, Oriental-style. And Tina made some excellent Tagines!..Tina and Frédéric lived the life of a couple who were really together as one.”
By 1967 Tina had started to appear in more underground films. By now she and Pardo had left France for Italy, where they had temporarily settled in Campo di Fiori in Rome. Following the Paris uprising of 1968, many of their Parisian friends joined them.
Tina’s years in Italy were probably the happiest of her life. Cinecittà, the cinematic nerve centre was on fire with creativity, and Tina was one of its burning torches. Her film appearances including a starring role in Pride and Vengeance (1968) with Franco Nero and Klaus Kinski, avant-garde erotic filmmaker Tinto Brass’s The Howl (1968), Polidoro’s Satyricon (1969) and Brocani’s Necropolis (1970, again with Clémenti). She was also working on Garrel’s cryptic Le Lit de la Vierge.
Garrel was now looking for a soundtrack for Le Lit. Tina’s friend Nico had just made her album The Marble Index, and her arrival at that moment in Italy, along with Viva from The Factory, was to prove timely. At Tina’s home in Grottaferrata, where Garrel had been working on Le Lit, Nico and the young director were first introduced. Tina suggested that they all go together to Positano where she had rented a villa. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had just finished writing some of the songs for Let It Bleed, and this Mediterranean beauty spot seemed to be a magnet for all sorts of creative mergings that year.
Tina Aumont recalls: "Viva was in love with Michel Auder, a young photographer who also made movies, I was there with the painter Frederic Pardo, and Nico was in love with Philippe Garrel". Tina Aumont wanted to get away from her work and the herd, and so she suggested the couples went down to her rented villa in Positan: "It was a place to get away from working, and we had such fun, oh, a lot of fun. But Nico wanted to work. She was really serious about her composing. It was amusing to us".
During the filming of Le Lit de la Vierge, Pardo had shot his own super-8 and called it Home Movie, a beautiful record of the behind the scenes of the shoot, with some extraordinary moments in the stunning architecture of Morocco and in a late 60s London. The star of the film is undoubtedly Tina and the way in which Pardo captures her speaks absolute volumes about their relationship, which clearly at that moment was at its most complicit and intuitive.
Tina Aumont played her first lead role in L'Urlo/The Howl (Tinto Brass, 1970) in which Brass explored the changing mood of the Swinging Sixties. Tina played a student activist whose politics move even further to the left after she's raped by police officers.
In 1971 Tina Aumont and other notorious women signed the "Manifeste des 343 salopes" in favor of the decriminalization of abortion. The 343 women who signed the manifesto claimed to have an abortion and that, consequently, they risked criminal prosecution that could reach the imprisonment.

 Her circles were widening again and her reputation for good times (and increasingly, fierce independence) had by now crossed the safety line. Although she always turned up for work on time, drugs and partying had taken over. By 1972 she had split with Pardo after leaving him to do a trip to Bali on his own. He waited for her to turn up there and join him, and she never did, which for him marked the end of the trust they had shared. Tina continued to live from day to day.
During the 1970s, she starred in some prolific Italian productions like the courtroom drama Fatti di gente perbene/The Murri Affair (Mauro Bolognini, 1974) with Catherine Deneuve, the political thriller Cadaveri eccellenti/Illustrious Corpses (Francesco Rosi, 1975), and the scandalous success Salon Kitty (Tinto Brass, 1975), a shocking but stylish tale of decadence in the Third Reich, inspired by a true story. Brass later said she was the most beautiful woman with whom he'd ever worked. She also worked with Federico Fellini at Il Casanova di Fellini/Fellini's Casanova (1976) featuring Donald Sutherland as the famous lover, and with Roberto Rossellini at Il messia/The Messiah (1975). She appeared in the Italian-American production A Matter of Time/Nina (Vincente Minnelli, 1976) with Liza Minnelli and Ingrid Bergman.

Tina's flamboyant career had taken a downturn in the late seventies. In 1978 she was arrested in Italy, and charged with illegal importation of 400 grams of opium. She was eventually sentenced to three years imprisonment, which she managed to reduce on appeal to nine months. Then she was banned from Italy, her country of adoption. Leaving Italy had broken her heart. She moved back to France and found shelter in her father's home. Diroectors Mauro Bolognini and Federico Fellini wrote letters to the lawyers asking to forgive her. Tina Aumont and her father Jean-Pierre Aumont also wrote letters to the lawyers asking forgiveness.
In the cinema she appeared in the experimental silent film Rebelote (Jacques Richard, 1983) with Jean-Pierre Léaud and later she had a role in Les Frères Petard (1986), a story set within the crepuscular world of Parisian nightlife. Her scenes in Sale comme un ange/Dirty Like an Angel (Catherine Breillat, 1991) were deleted. Her final film appearance was in La mécanique des femmes/ The Mechanics of Women (Jérôme de Missolz, 2000) That year she retired from film work.
Tina’s health was failing. She eventually cut loose from the metropolis and settled in Port-Vendres near the Catalunyan border. After a quiet couple of years she died, following the death of Frédéric Pardo less than a year earlier, in her sleep at home in late 2006. She was buried beside her mother in the Cimetière de Montparnasse in Paris.
She was the sister-in-law of Nadine Trintignant and Serge Marquand and the aunt of Marie Trintignant and Vincent Trintignant.

Sources: La Vanguardia on-line and Wikipedia.