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Marcel Mouloudji was born in Paris on September 16th, 1922. His father, who was Kabyle, originally came from Sidi Aïch in Algeria. After emigrating to France, he worked as a mason and joined the Communist Party. He married a Breton woman who was a devout Catholic, but who very quickly sank into alcoholism and madness. She would be committed to a mental institution.


The Mouloudji family lived in a humble dwelling in the Nineteenth District of Paris. Marcel went with his father to the Communist Party meetings, a party which he felt close to part of his life. Rather a cute child, he got a role in a film on Ménilmontant at the age of eleven. Besides this, he worked many odd jobs on the street with his brother André such as a singer.

As a teenager, Marcel joined the Faucons Rouges (Red Falcons) an association linked to the Communist Party where he formed a group with his brother. In 1935, he met Sylvain Atkine, a theatre director in the Groupe Octobre, an organisation affiliated with the Fédération des Théâtres ouvriers de France (working class theatre) It was then at only the age of thirteen that he had already met the great names in theatre like Jean-Louis Barrault and Roger Blin.

Quite gifted, the young man was adopted by the theatre world. He was even sponsored by the literary man Marcel Duhamel who introduced him to literature and poetry. Duhamel sent him to work for Jean-Louis Barrault where Marcel lived for a short time.


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