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Roland Topor (1938 - 1997)

Related: 1938 - 1997

Related: Poland - French art - fantastic art - surrealism - Panic Movement - French cinema

Magazines: Hara Kiri (magazine)

Films: Fantastic Planet (1973) - The Tenant (1976) - Marquis (1989)

Collaborated with: Fernando Arrabal - Alexandro Jodorowsky - René Laloux - Roman Polanski - Daniel Spoerri

Roland Topor Google gallery

The Tenant (1964) - Roland Topor
[FR] [DE] [UK]

The Tenant chronicles a harrowing, fascinating descent into madness as the pathologically alienated Trelkovsky is subsumed into Simone Choule, an enigmatic suicide whose presence saturates his new apartment. More than a tale of possession, the novel probes disturbing depths of guilt, paranoia, and sexual obsession with an unsparing detachment. With an introduction by Thomas Ligotti. The novel was adapted to film by Roman Polanski in 1976. [Jan 2007]


Roland Topor (January 7, 1938 in Paris - April 16, 1997), was a French illustrator, painter, writer and filmmaker, known for the surreal nature of his work. He was of Polish origin.

Roland Topor wrote the novel The Tenant ("Le Locataire Chimérique", 1964), which was adapted to film by Roman Polanski in 1976. The Tenant is the story of a Polish immigrant living in Paris, a chilling exploration of alienation and identity, asking disturbing questions about how we define ourselves. The later novel Joko's Anniversary (1969), another fable about loss of identity, is a vicious satire on social conformity.

With René Laloux, Topor made "Dead Time" ("Les Temps Morts", 1964), "The Snails" ("Les Escargots", 1965) and their most famous work, the feature length Fantastic Planet ("La Planète Sauvage", 1973). Topor also played Renfield in Werner Herzog's film Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979).

A new presentation of The Tenant by Roland Topor is to be released in October, 2006. The book has Topor's original novel, a new introduction by Thomas Ligotti, a selection of short stories by Topor, a healthy representation of Topor's artwork, and an essay on the famous Roman Polanski film version. There is a working possibility of having Mr Polanski write a new foreword to this edition.

Thomas Ligotti's introduction clocks in at 3500 words and concerns the affirmative themes of world-renowned authors, focusing on Luigi Pirandello, with the negationist themes of Roland Topor's The Tenant.

Topor published several books of drawings, including Dessins panique (1965) Quatre roses pour Lucienne (1967) and Toporland (1975). Selections from Quatre roses pour Lucienne were reprinted in the English language collection Stories and Drawings (1967). His carefully detailed, realistic style, with elaborate crosshatching, emphasises the fantastic and macabre subject matter of the images.

In 1962 he created the Panic Movement, together with Alejandro Jodorowsky and Fernando Arrabal.

From 1961 to 1965 he contributed to the French satirical Hara Kiri magazine.

He created the drawings for the bizarre introduction of Arrabal's film Viva La Muerte (1971).

In 1983, he created with Henri Xhonneux the popular French TV series Téléchat, a parody of news broadcasts featuring a puppet cat and a puppet ostrich. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Topor [Mar 2006]

External links

See also: http://www.rolandtopor.net/topor.html, which is I believe a new site on this French multi-skilled and multi-imaginative artist. Tip of the hat to Rafaela.


The Tenant aka Le Locataire Chimerique (1964) - Roland Topor
[FR] [DE] [UK]

An older English translation published by Black Spring Press in 1997, now fetching quite a price.

An Anecdoted Topography of Chance (1966) - Daniel Spoerri, Roland Topor
[FR] [DE] [UK] [...]

With One Hundred Reflective Illustrations by Topor.

Marquis (1989) - Henri Xhonneux [Amazon.com]

An audacious rendering of the political, social and sexual manners of the ancien regime and the class division and social disruption that produced the French Revolution. Adapted from the writings of the Marquis de Sade, Henri Xhonneux and Roland Topor's elegantly witty film uses elaborate puppets in human form to act out erotic and sexual decadence. "Elegantly naughty with wry, intellectual satire. The film plays out all manner of human desire" (J. Hoberman).

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