The Singer (Quand j'etais chanteur)
Gerard Depardieu works his rotund charm as a band singer, crooning romantic tunes to his 40 something audiences. He meets and forges an unlikely relationship with a much younger, jilted divorcee (de France). He becomes obssessed with her, to the point where he buys a house just to keep seeing her.
Who knew Depardieu could sing? I certainly didn't. But sing he does and his showmanship, like his acting, is a joy to watch. The tunes themselves are superfluous really, just there for decoration. Depardieu's Alain Moreau is a fading idol but still adored by his fans. Take a brief look here
One night Moreau spies a beautiful girl who has walked in with an old friend of his, Bruno (Mathieu Amalric), the local real estate agent. During his break he joins Bruno at his table and is introduced to Marion (de France). She has never heard of Alain Moreau, and she smiles at his old fashioned pick-up lines. Still, they go home together, for reasons of her own. He may think it's the song he sang to her that night, and that's partly true, but she has a sadness about her that only the audience seems to be noticing.
Although at first you could be forgiven for calling the film corny, you soon notice that the locations are unusual, production values are high, the performances exceptional, and the script unexpectedly funny. However, without a star of Depardieu's calibre the entire film would fall flat. His Moreau is a giant presence matched by his lightness of touch as Depardieu is both himself and something of a parody of himself and it's that which makes you watch this film right to the end and enjoy every minute of it.
Celine de Franc (HereAfter) plays Marion brilliantly but she is outshone by Moreau. Gerard Depardieu gives an exquisitely soulful performance in a deceptively simple, yet affecting film about the poetry of love, the burden of loneliness and the thrill of a May December romance.
This film was made in 2006 and is the original film, Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges was made in 2010 and is the reboot. The films are vastly different but have the same premise, i.e. fading singer meets much younger divorcee with a child. Of the two films the French version is my favourite because it's pace, though as slow as Crazy Heart, is filled with interesting characters and dialogue. I guess you need to be a country music fan to enjoy Crazy Heart.