French film to portray last years of Mitterrand

11th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 8 (AFP) - A long-standing political taboo is to be broken in France with the release early next year of a film portraying the last two years in the life of the Socialist president Francois Mitterrand who died in 1996.

PARIS, Oct 8 (AFP) - A long-standing political taboo is to be broken in France with the release early next year of a film portraying the last two years in the life of the Socialist president Francois Mitterrand who died in 1996.  

"The walker on the Champ de Mars" - starring 79-year-old actor Michel Bouquet as Mitterrand - was shot behind closed doors because of the controversy the script was likely to stir, according to Le Monde magazine which on Friday published the first stills from the picture.  

It is the first time a fictionalised depiction of a modern president has been made on film in France, a country where the lives of political leaders - even dead ones - are treated with the utmost discretion.  

The choice of Mitterrand - a leader who inspired love and loathing in equal measure - has made the film doubly sensitive, with several members of his entourage intervening to have a key scene from the very end of the late president's life removed, Le Monde said.  

Based largely on a biography by Georges-Marc Benamou, the film originally included a famous episode in Mitterrand's dying days when he allegedly took part in a feast in southwest France, devouring illegally-hunted birds known as ortolans in an elaborate gastronomic ritual.  

After complaints from Mitterrand's daughter Mazarine Pingeot, born out of wedlock, and other guardians of his memory who said the scene was inaccurate and defamatory, director Robert Guediguian agreed to cut it, the magazine said.  

But Pingeot, whose existence was revealed to the world only two years before Mitterrand's death, said that she was pleased by the choice of the veteran stage-actor Bouquet to portray her father.  

"I have often remarked how Bouquet sometimes strikes an attitude just like my father ... Basically I do not know how I will feel when I see him playing my father on screen, but I have faith in the great actor he is," she said.  

Mitterrand also had two sons from his wife Daniele.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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