the myth told by Fabrice Luchini


For everyone, the name of Pagnol resonates. Legendary author, successful director and prolific director, his face figures in the pantheon of French artists who shine with unfailing versatility and virtuosity. In fact, although his work is still a source of inspiration (four film adaptations since 2011), it is still essential to perpetuate it with new generations. The contribution that he represents to French heritage remains exceptional.

Fabien Béziat (including the author of the documentary The epic of the black mouthswith Hugues Nancy) took charge of the first great portrait dedicated to the author of Manon of the sources Y the glory of my father. The director breaks with the traditional form of the documentary to offer a different experience: neither experts, nor biographers, nor distant colleagues parade in a series of anecdotes of variable quality… Here, it is only one voice that guides us, that of Fabrice Luchini. The actor with his unique phrasing is the narrator of this almost two-hour immersion in the life of this French myth.

acts of resistance

Through these pilgrimages, it is the reverse of an exciting career, marked by ups and downs that are counted. First of all, his fight against the “intelligentsia” of Parisian critics, who maliciously delight in demolishing his least convincing films. Another fact that marked his career forever: the war. The documentary does not fail to recall how much courage and self-sacrifice Pagnol showed in the face of the Nazis, who wanted to control his art. Many are his acts of resistance, ranging from the destruction of one of his films by refusing to give it to the occupants to the sale of all his film studios. “Perhaps I am the only one who refused to shoot for the Germans”, we heard it said on old recordings.

The documentary is also allowed to go where it was not expected. In general, one can expect, from this type of program, to remain in the laudatory, hagiographic portrait. However, here he is described as a man concerned about his image and what others think of him, even if that means modifying reality to embellish it according to his interests. Thus, we will hear him brag about an Oscar that he never had, or even invent that he was born on the same day as the cinema. A true Marseillais!

Skillfully using excerpts from his various films and a mastery of the verb whose secret Luchini holds, The treasures of Marcel Pagnol manages to move by faithfully outlining the dizzying destiny of the character, while paying tribute to his undeniable talent and the importance of his creation, whether literary or cinematographic.

The treasures of Marcel Pagnoldocumentary written and directed by Fabien Béziat With the voice of
Fabrice Luchini (Fr., 2018, 120 min.).

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