On the occasion of his Symphonic Cinema Show, a musical journey through his works, the filmmaker reveals to us the secrets of making some of the cult songs from his films. This week: focus on Days and Moons Ago and Itinerary of a Spoiled Child.
It was only supposed to be a one shot! Last November, to celebrate his 85th anniversary, 50 films and a career spanning more than 60 years, the Palais des Congrès in Paris hosted “Claude Lelouch – Le Symphonique”, a show like a journey in music and images in his filmography, where the musicians of the Symphonic group performed the most beautiful music from his feature films on a unique montage projected on a giant screen. But a packed and enthusiastic room could only give rise to encores. So from November 10, “Claude Lelouch – Le Symphonique” takes a stroll across France, after passing through the Salle Pleyel in Paris on November 15. The opportunity for First to meet the filmmaker so that he can tell us about the cult songs that populate his cinema.
You are directing Philippe Léotard for the first time in The cat and the Mouse in 1975. You find it the following year in The Good and the Bad. Then in 1989, in There are days and moonsyou offer him a role as a singer, a career that he will embrace the following year with the album In love as in warawarded the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles-Cros, of which he performs one of the songs in front of your camera: “ Please play more »…
Claude Lelouch: I like the actors. Without them, I am nothing. But I also love musicians. They are even crazier than the actors. If the words remain, the musical notes fly away. They go to heaven. Music speaks to our irrational nature. It is the language of the divine. And with everything I’ve experienced with music, I’ve become more and more of a believer! (laughs) Because I have witnessed lots of miracles. Music is the first medicine I take when I’m not feeling well, when I have a bout of the blues, a bout of fatigue or even a little headache. He is the ideal psychologist for me who have never consulted one. To return to Philippe, he is obviously first and foremost an actor. And then at some point he discovered he had a voice. He started writing songs and he wrote wonderfully. His luck was also at that time to come across the accordionist Philippe Servain. They found each other, a bit like Francis Lai and me
What did Philippe Léotard inspire in you?
I adored him. I hosted him at my house in Montmartre, after a few of his romantic breakups when his companions had thrown him out. I programmed it in the small theater I had at the time where he gave some of his most beautiful concerts. And logically, I also called on his talent as a singer in There are days and moons And All that for this. I went to see him in the hospital until his last days. He loved me a lot… because I would come sneaking up with bottles of wine that he would hide under his mattress! He was forbidden everything even though he knew he was done for. So damn for damn, he wanted to enjoy these ultimate little pleasures. It was a man’s love. He never cheated. On a set, on stage and in life. I loved it for the same reason I loved Brel. This inability to cheat with others as well as with themselves
Jacques Brel whom you obviously directed in Adventure is adventure but two of the songs – Isabelle and Une île – also accompany Itinerary of a spoiled child…
If Brel had been a woman, I would have married him! He was truly the ideal man for me. A poet. An adventurer above all. A guy who took risks all the time. One day, the two of us went to Geneva with his little single-engine plane. And when we arrived above the airport, the control tower asked us not to land because it was too foggy. But Jacques didn’t want to hear anything. I suggested he go and stay in Chambéry but nothing happened. He wanted to land in Geneva, that’s all. We couldn’t see anything but he assured me that the track was straight ahead of us. I got the fright of my life ! But we ended up settling down and it was only once on dry land that he admitted to me that he hadn’t had a great time. We had a great party that evening! So for me, the character ofItinerary of a spoiled child, it’s Brel. I thought of him to write Sam Lion played by Jean-Paul (Belmondo). It’s as if the entire film was dedicated to him
Claude Lelouch- The Cinema- symphonic show. December 1st at the Zénith de Caen. December 3 at the Zénith de Lille