1972 saw the first appearance on screen of an actor with blond curls and the manners of a ham-fisted gentleman who would conquer the hearts of French moviegoers. After directing Le Distrait (Distracted) in 1970, Pierre Richard came to notice in Yves Robert's movie, Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe). The violin, a very sheer evening gown and espionage will be on the program at the Cinéma de la plage this evening. Jérémie Imbert, co-writer with Pierre Richard of the latter's autobiography Je ne sais rien, mais je dirai tout (2015) which translatesroughly as "I Know Nothing, But I'll Tell You Everything" talks about this cult movie.
Movie still © RR
What was the atmosphere on the set?
Yves and Pierre had a very close relationship, almost like a father and son. The actor was acting to convince the director. There was a really good natured feeling between them, which even affected the words used by Yves Robert. He never said "Lights, camera...action!" but instead "Lights, camera...act!"
Pierre Richard is a physical actor, his acting is calculated to the millimeter…
He comes from the world of dance. At the start of his career Pierre Richard was to have been part of Maurice Béjart's ballet theater. He preferred acting, but because of his training he had complete control of his body, like an acrobat. He reminded you of Buster Keaton or even Charlie Chaplin. For Le Grand Blond, he learnt to play the violin. He's a very rounded artist with an acting style that is all his own.
Vladimir Cosma's theme music is an integral part of the movie.
For Yves Robert, it was important that the music shouldn't underline the action but rather contrast with it. In other words it had to act as a counterpoint to the action. Francis Veber, the screenwriter on the movie, didn't want a title theme. He wanted the music to emphasize the espionage aspect with a theme that would bring Eastern Europe or the Balkans to mind. Cosma's choice was the right one in the end; the music is recognizable from the very first note!
Interview by Hannah Benayoun
Thursday 14 May / Macé Beach/ 9pm
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