Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Hamas rockets reaching deeper into Israel

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

France's public enemy number one makes biopic comeback

©

Latest update : 2008-10-22

France's former public enemy number one, a charismatic bank robber, kidnapper and killer who first gained notoriety in Canada, made a comeback Wednesday in a critically-acclaimed biopic.

Thirty years after the death of French gangster Jacques Mesrine, director Jean-François Richet has made not just one but two films about the notorious gangster’s life. Vincent Cassel plays the legendary bandit, having put on 20 kilos for the role, and a plethora of actors like Ludivine Sagnier and Mathieu Amalric accompany him on the screen. The first part, “Mesrine, the instinct of death” comes out in 500 French cinemas on Wednesday October 22nd. The second, “Mesrine: public enemy n° 1”, comes out a month later, on November 19th.

 

Jacques Mesrine, “the man with a hundred faces”, is without a doubt the most famous French gangster. This son of a businessman committed his first burglaries at the age of 23. Hold-ups, kidnappings, armed attack – the gangster’s list is long and epic. His death under a rain of bullets from a special police force in the heart of Paris, at the end of October 1979, only contributed to his legend.

 

The film begins briskly, with a striking scene set in wartime Algeria, in 1959. In an interview with Agence France Presse, Jean-François Richet admitted that this scene represents "the end of innocence" for Jacques Mesrine, in whom he sees "a kind of anarchist, an anti-establishment figure: the guy who doesn’t want to be stereotyped”. This year-end’s super production – 35 millions euros – showcases a violent character, crafty and ready to do anything to get what he wants.

 

The actor Vincent Cassel, who plays Mesrine, compares this two-part film to “two themes which complete each other”. The first tells the story of a young man who is trying to find himself; the second that of a man who knows where his choices in life take him. The actor summarises it as follows: “The first is a film noir. The second, on the other hand, is more of a psychological thriller, the paranoia of a guy who knows intuitively how it’s all going to end”.

 

The film has earned a warm welcome from the French press. “Coherence, rigour and rhythm,” writes the magazine Première; “a brilliant exercise in style”, affirms Le Monde. Or even, “A powerful political attack on religion”, says the arts magazine les Inrockuptibles.

 

For the film’s opening, photographer Alain Bizos, who knew Mesrine well, is showing a series of photographs taken in private, the year of his death. He reveals the crook to be a character more than capable of humour and quite far from his image of public enemy n°1. For Bizos, these unique photographs re-establish the truth about the character. As for the film, he believes it’s off the mark: “they make him out to be a right idiot, you don’t feel the brilliant, smart and intelligent guy that he was”. Still, the Cahiers du Cinéma talk of a “man moved by a conquering virility (…) a belief restored in the full powers of incarnation”. Will the French people have enough appetite for a work in two parts?

 

Date created : 2008-10-22

Comments

COMMENT(S)