Jean-Marc Rochette

(Updated on 09/19/2014)
© Casterman 2014 / Lob / Rochette / Legrand

Jean Marc Rochette started his career in the 1970s as an illustrator for Actuel and l'Echo des Savanes, two very famous French underground comics magazines. Together with Martin Veyron, he created the cult humoristic figure « Edmond le cochon », Edmond the Pig, often described as a French avatar of Robert Crumb's Fritz the Cat.

Rochette experiences with very different graphic styles, whether he targets younger or more adult audiences. But he is also an abstract painter, which has sometimes influenced his drawings. He has won several prizes and nominations at the Angoulême International Comics Festival.

Yet he is best known for his Snowpiercer, created with author Jacques Lob (Casterman 1982-1983). After the death of the previous illustrator, Rochette was chosen to take over the series, giving it a much darker and pessimistic tone. The graphic novel takes place after an ecological disaster which has covered the earth in snow within a few hours; survivors of the human race are locked in a train that perpetually travels on globe-spanning tracks. The train reproduces a very hierarchical society, in which different social groups are divided into different cars, until the poor rise up...

It was only in 2004, when South-Korean director Bong Joon-ho found by chance a copy of the Snowpiercer in a Seoul bookstore that the idea of adapting it to the screen came to life. Nearly thirty years after the publication of the graphic novel, this post-apocalyptic science fiction narrative was brilliantly brought to the screen in 2013. The film and the comic book share a common aesthetic: gray and cold colors and a feeling of emptiness and desolation. In South Korea, the film has been a sweeping success, with over 10 million viewers; Rochette was welcomed like a rock-star when he toured the country. In the United States, the Snowpiercer was distributed by the Weinstein Brothers first as a VOD format, with the best audience results in the history of VOD... an Oscar in the making ?

"Sprung from a 1982 French graphic novel and bearing its era's trickle-down tensions, Snowpiercer is a headlong rush into conceptual lunacy-but you'll love it anyway." Time Out New

"Snowpiercer sucks you into its strange, brave new world so completely, it leaves you with the all-too-rare sensation that you've just witnessed something you've never seen before...and need to see again."  Entertainment Weekly

Snowpiercer works brilliantly, the sum of extremely disparate parts that adds up to cinematic excellence." The Guardian


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