Every day, a personality invites itself into the world of Élodie Suigo. Thursday November 30, 2023: the actor, Pierre Richard. Today he is publishing an autobiography “Souvenirs d’un distracted” with Editions du Cherche-Midi.
Published on 11/30/2023 06:49
Reading time: 4 min The actor Pierre Richard on November 30, 2023 in Le monde d’Élodie. (FRANCEINFO / RADIO FRANCE)
On paper, Pierre Richard is an actor, director and screenwriter, but on film and in real life, he is much more. He is simply him. He is a character, one of those different beings looking at the sky, the moon and its stars more than the tips of his shoes. He was always comfortable in his sneakers, not always at ease in grand parties, but relaxed in small groups, among simple friends. He is discreet, humble, in love with life, careful not to make too much noise. Thursday November 30, he published with the complicity of Christophe Duthuron, Memories of a distracted person published by Cherche-Midi.
franceinfo: In this book, we have proof by A plus B that you are, without really being, distracted. Stories taken from your truer-than-life stories. So if you’re not distracted, who are you? Because ultimately, I have no answer in this book and I have read everything.
Pierre Richard : I don’t have many answers either! I am especially interested in the superfluous and the useless. So obviously, I don’t do well in this world where I’m asked to be very attentive to emergencies. For me, emergencies are not the same as things.
“Maybe people think I’m distracted because I pay attention to things that people don’t pay attention to.”
A misunderstanding has indeed persisted for half a century, but what an idea, and you say it, to start with a film called The distracted ?
That’s what I say in the book, I could have gone and seen As long as there will be men with Burt Lancaster where I would have been naked on a beach with a very pretty woman, and I could have made Burt Lancaster’s career, but I chose the wrong film! I went to see Jacques Tati and I said to myself: I’m going to do the same and I’m not complaining. It’s true that I was still better able to tell stories that I believe in, that is to say poetry, the burlesque, the unexpected, the unreal. I was in the clouds so it’s not easy to talk about things that happen on the sidewalk.
When you look closely, it’s mainly your grandfather who will show you a path. I think you understood that this path was going to be yours, that is to say the one a little sideways. And throughout this work, we realize to what extent it was others who showed you certain courses to follow and who gave you confidence in yourself.
I spent my time being a disciple. I was never Jesus. I was a disciple of Yves Robert who saw things in me that I did not see. Now, I have more and more difficulty at my age, I am becoming, in spite of myself, a patriarch. But I’m having trouble.
“I always looked for fathers because I didn’t have my own. So, I had plenty of fathers.”
This grandfather said to your mother: “Either way, he will succeed“. It helped you enormously because when the film The Distracted was released in 1970, you were 40 years old.
I was 40 years old. And so until the age of 40, I could have asked myself questions about my future. I asked myself these questions, but without much worry, because I had this sentence from my grandfather on his deathbed. It’s important because it’s stronger than saying that, in passing, in conversation while eating dessert. He said on his deathbed: “He will succeed“. I kept him in my head because he was my grandfather, my God. It’s true that until Distracted, I was calm. I told myself: it will come and it came.
There is a duality in your personality. There is both this doubt which has always accompanied you and at the same time this courage which made you succeed in confronting this shyness because you were shy when you were younger. But the moment you play, it feels like everything is released.
Perhaps it’s my own way… There are people who go to see psychoanalysts precisely to try to overcome certain of their faults such as shyness, perhaps, or fear. For me, cinema was my best psychoanalyst. It’s true that in the theater, I’m backstage and I’m going to go on stage and I pray to heaven that there’s a bomb that falls, something terrible so that someone will say to me: “No, we’re not playing tonight“. And I go on stage and then that’s it, it’s going well! What happens before the curtain rises and after, I don’t really know, but in the end it goes well.
There is another character who accompanied you enormously, it is Georges Moustaki. You witnessed the birth of the song alongside him My freedom (1970), which he had written for someone else. This notion of freedom, every time we talk about you, is omnipresent. Do you feel like you have always been a free artist? A free man ?
Anyway, I tried it. I think I’ve always done everything for pleasure. As soon as I feel that there is no pleasure, I run away. My job is an enormous pleasure, I have spent my life on vacation, but because I tried to stay on vacation too.
“I refused a lot of things that could have made me money or taken me I don’t know where. I don’t want to do anything that embarrasses me, that bores me.”
How do you view these 60 years already spent with us?
I became a patriarch without wanting to and now that I am, I have to take responsibility. I accept the pleasure that people had in seeing me, even little children of eight years old. There are three generations of difference because the parents showed my film, so I still exist, then one fine day, I will no longer exist, that’s normal, maybe in two centuries!
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