One of the last giants of French cinema has returned to the Côte d’Azur, which he knows intimately from his youth and where he spent the happy period of his life.
At almost ninety years old (born 16 August 1934), he is definitely not going to retire from the theater or film scene just yet. But no matter how much this endlessly distracted hero wants to disprove the film’s reputation, myths die hard.
With more than sixty years of starring roles in more than forty feature films, seen by fifty million viewers worldwide, the Big Blonde has turned white, but it doesn’t help. From generation to generation, loyal audiences associate his true nature with the film character whose legend he himself helped maintain.
In a show he co-authored with long-time author Christophe Duthuron, he offers a unique encounter that will make you feel like you’ve spent a good hour in the artist’s living room.
A ruthlessly distracted Big Blond
“I think the question: You’re just as distracted by life as you are in your movies? I heard probably the most often. Except perhaps: Excuse me, why are you stepping on my foot?” comments the actor on his latest creation.
“And still trying to respond: No, not at all, but believe me I’m preaching into the void because this question keeps coming up again and again. That’s why I decided to set the record straight!” he adds, saying that he wants to put an end to the misunderstanding that has been going on for half a century.
Fortunately, this time he will not encounter any bad luck or calamity on the scene, which we know for example from the role of the accountant Perrin in the film Kopyto in the main double role with Gérard Depardieu.
A sober and refined production built like a kaleidoscope of life moments allows Pierre Richard’s talent to shine in a more subtle form without great effects. It’s like meeting a good friend years later, who tells you stories and memories of his career through short sketches, confessions and anecdotes with his disarming honesty.
A wise master of clumsiness
One of the few French comedians capable of changing the Earth’s axis of rotation by slipping on a banana peel, he also slips into different characters with ease in his show, juggling emotions and comic situations, but with the weight of the wisdom of his age.
Heir to Buster Keaton in gesture and movement expression and Groucho Marx in puns, he is still the same inventive creator of a unique form that adheres to the same principles. However, his burlesque sketches have transformed into a more sober form, and with his gentle humor and sense of lightness, here he explores deeper themes such as loneliness, the passage of time, love and the search for happiness.
Minimalist backdrops, smoothly changing with transitions to other scenes, perfectly complement the imaginary world and imagination of the actor.
The gentle clown also takes us into privacy, which has always been largely unknown. With humor and nostalgia, he shares anecdotes about his Italian roots, reminiscing about his mother and stays on the Côte d’Azur in Èze, Nice, Cannes and the Lérin Islands.
Joy in the sun and volleyball every day on the beach with his mother, who raised him alone, is a period of life that is part of the actor’s DNA.
“I know Cannes well and its old district of Suquet, where I had to go for tutoring during the summer because I had bad grades in school. And then every afternoon I played volleyball at the Plage du Midi. The Cannes festival was stolen from me at the time, I preferred to cruise the sea in a kayak. My mother and I adored trips to Èze or Nice, where later I often filmed at the Victorine studio,” the actor told Bleu Azur radio before the performance.
Distraction makes us human
Show I’m here, and I’m not here! performed by an artist whose talent transcends generations, it delighted lovers of cult films as much as fans of contemporary theatre.
“Man must be a robot to be capable of normal behavior, thanks to which we do not live, but only survive, function. Distraction and imperfection are what make us human beings. I wish you to never, ever lose your personal vision and not be influenced by others!” he stated among other things.
“I wish you to make your own way without being disturbed by the views of others and without letting yourself be carried away by the trends of the times. Look up at the sky often as this will help you keep your head on straight. And don’t forget the only important thing in life and that is time and your life itself because we only have one. Oh, I know how fast it goes! I wish you to never forget the opportunity for joy, and even if it does not seem like it, there is so much of it around us! You just need to look carefully. I’m not as distracted as anyone! You definitely need to say this to yourself!” He delivered his message and thus made an intimate connection with the cheering audience to the last seat of the packed Anthéa theater for a long standing ovation.
Despite the age
Pierre Richard probably really knows how to spin the earth’s axis, because even at his advanced age he seems to be almost at the peak of his career. At least that’s how he’s in demand among filmmakers and theatergoers. Last year, he inaugurated the Cannes Film Festival with the film Jeanne du Barry, where he played Cardinal Richelieu.
And between two others, including the film Astérix et Obélix: L’Empire du Milieu, he jumped to the Czech studios in 2023 to shoot Dan Svátek’s film Two Words as a Key.
From Antibes, the actor immediately went on tour with his theater performance, which the audience can see during 32 performances until the end of March. And also behind the preparation of two other French films this year.