13 jan Save Depardieu
He was Danton; he was Cyrano de Bergerac; he was Balzac’s colonel Chabert; he was and is Obelix. He is the incarnation of French cinema, a superior actor, his former agent Jean-Louis Livi calls him nothing less than a ‘genius’. But like so many stars whose success came at an early age (Patrick Dewaere, Romy Schneider, Marilyn Monroe), fame doesn’t always mean happiness. Gerard Depardieu seems to show his sadness by challenging his French fans, his country as a whole really. Leaving for Belgium because he can’t stand the tax measures president Hollande tried to impose on the rich (up to 75% was the idea, but it fell through). Then a spectacular hommage to Vladimir Putin and an exhibitionistic appearance in the Russian republic of Mordovia, known for its tough prison system. Depardieu with a Russian passport to prove his breaking up with France? Or to pray for attention? Please love me, says Gerard. He just cannot say it in words. Please forgive me my appetite, my wine feasts, my belly. Can’t you see I am lonely, divorced, that I lost a child, that, at 64, I am getting old and that I long for your friendship? I am not the greedy star you have called me! I am French, not Russian, I am defending human rights, not torture, I am looking for a life, for a new role.
Last week in Italy, I was sitting next to a couple of Russians who discussed the Depardieu case with anger. They knew the actor was just using Russia to get onto the front pages. It is all about attention. Why does France let Depardieu go ahead with his nonsense? Let Hollande call him (Gerard loves presidents) and give him a medal, a political role, a national rehabilitation. Put his Obelix face on a stamp, make him the masculine symbol of the Gauls, just as Brigitte Bardot one day became the modern Marianne. Come on France, save Depardieu before he kills himself in a vodka bar.