Simon Abkarian continues to excel in French theater

A multicultural artistic journey

In 2001, Simon Abkarian received his first Best Artist award for his role in the film Une bête sur la lune. [Beast on the Moon]. However, his career began earlier, in Los Angeles.

Born in France to a Lebanese-Armenian family, Abkarian’s parents decided to return to Lebanon before the 1975 war. The war drove her to flee the country, first to France and then to Los Angeles. It was in the City of Angels that Abkarian first discovered the theater through Shakespeare’s work. There he joined an Armenian theater company led by Gerald Papasian.

Simon Abkarian (Photo Facebook)

Later, thanks to Georges Bigot, a French actor, he became a member of the Théâtre du Soleil in France and performed with various directors, including Ariane Mnouchkine, who taught him everything about theater. His first steps on the scene led him to the cinema. He has worked with many French producers, notably Cédric Klapish and Robert Guédiguian, but also with Atom Egoyan. Simon Abkarian’s talent is such that he can play different types of characters, good and bad, a colonel (“Kaboul Kitchen”), an Armenian grocer (“L’Armée du Crime [The Army of Crime]’), or a Corsican mafioso (in the huge hit Edmond).

Commitment to Armenia through his art

In 2016 he won the French cinema trophy with his second role in the film Une histoire de fou. [A Crazy Story]. The film, produced by Guédiguian, deals with the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide. Simon Abkarian is best known for his role as Missak Manouchian in another Guédiguian film, L’Armée du Crime, released in 2009. The film pays homage to a real-life group of resistance fighters called the Manouchian Group during the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1944. The Manouchian Group really left their mark on the history of France and their brave actions are still taught in school. Founded mainly by immigrants such as Italians, Spaniards, Poles or Armenians as the leader of the group, Missak Manouchian, she had a major impact on the French resistance before she was captured and executed by the Nazis. “It influenced me because my character is Armenian and I am Armenian. Manouchian idealized this vision of France a little bit – me too. It’s important to me to be in this film because it’s devoted [to the goals of the Resistance] and what these people did was just extraordinary,” said Simon Abkarian after the film’s release on French cinema website Allociné.

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