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Jacques Prévert ( ; 4 February 1900 - 11 April 1977) was a French poet and screenwriter.


Prevert was born at Neuilly-sur-Seine and grew up in Paris, where he was bored by school. He often went to theatre with his father, a drama critic, and acquired a love of reading from his mother. After receiving his Certificat d'études attesting to his having completed his primary education, he quit school and went to work in Le Bon Marchémarker department store in Paris. Then, he was called up for military service in 1918 and after the war was sent to the Near East. He was also a cheesecake maker.

He died in Omonville-la-Petitemarker, on 11 April 1977.


Prévert participated actively in the surrealist movement and was a member of the Rue du Château group along with Raymond Queneau and Marcel Duchamp.

Prévert's poems were published in his books Paroles (Words) (1946), Histoires (Stories) (1963), Spectacle (1951), La Pluie et le beau temps (Rain and Good Weather) (1955), Fatras (1971) and Choses et autres (Things and Others) (1973).

His poems are often about life in Paris and life after the Second World War. They are widely taught in schools in France and frequently appear in French language textbooks throughout the world.

Some of Prévert's poems, such as "Les Feuilles mortes" (Autumn Leaves), were set to music by Joseph Kosma, Germaine Tailleferre of Les Six, Christiane Verger and Hanns Eisler, and were also sung by prominent 20th century French vocalists including Yves Montand and Édith Piaf as well as by the American singer Joan Baez. The British remix DJs Coldcut released their own well-regarded 'chillout' version in 1993.


Prévert wrote a number of screenplays for the film director Marcel Carné. Among the films were Drôle de drame (Bizarre, Bizarre, 1937), Quai des brumes (Port of Shadows, 1938), Le Jour se lève (Daybreak, 1939), Les Visiteurs du soir (The Night Visitors, 1942) and Les Enfants du paradis (The Children of Paradise, 1945), often considered one of the greatest films of all time. His poems were also the basis for the movie La Seine a rencontré Paris (The Seinemarker Meets Paris, 1957) by the film director and documentarist Joris Ivens, being read as narration during the film by singer Serge Reggiani.


  • Paroles (1946)
  • Contes pour enfants pas sages (Tales for naughty children) (1947)
  • Le Petit Lion, illustrated by Ylla (1947, reprinted 1984)
  • Des Bêtes, illustrated by Ylla (1950, reprinted 1984)
  • Spectacle (1951)
  • Grand bal du printemps, with photographs by Izis Bidermanas (1951)
  • Lettre des îles Baladar (Letter from the Baladar Islands) (1952)
  • Tour de chant (1953)
  • La pluie et le beau temps (Rain and sunshine) (1955)
  • Histoires (1963) (Stories)
  • Le Cirque d'Izis, with photographs by Izis Bidermanas and original artwork by Marc Chagall (André Sauret, 1965)
  • Fatras (1966)
  • Charmes de Londres, with photographs by Izis Bidermanas (Editions de Monza, 1999)

Selected filmography

Prévert wrote the scenarios and sometimes the dialog in the following films:

External links

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