The Vincent

          December 1998                                                                  


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Nice casting on this 18th day in December at Sainte Clotilde Church: Karine Silla, 33, actress, married Vincent Perez, 35, actor. Costumes by Christian Lacroix for her and Armani for him. Roxane, 7, held her mother's train. We were there during preparations.

Do you like your dress?

"I'd prefer shorts!"

The walls tremble. The little girl cannot stay still. With a fired glance, wild hair, wide trousers and tennis shoes with messy laces, she claims, "I am a vampire!" and puts on, after all, charming clothing having the color of time. With or without ribbon at her waist? "Tell them, mom, without! Please…" Some meters away, a liana full of harmony and serenity evolves with light steps into a sparkling movement of ivory satin.

Last changes at Lacroix's for Karin's dress wiith Roxane, also dressed up for the big day. Karine bends her fragile neck slightly towards the dark curls of the child - the corselet and the long gown are still perfect. With a smile, she dresses up the little girl. An ocean of tenderness. The will o' the wisp calms down, she turns lovely. "To me she's never impolite. She can only imagine pleasing me. I look fragile, so she protects me," whispers the young woman.

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Roxane is already gone. Passing by she has put on without stopping a pair of delicate, high-heeled red pumps that were supposed to have another function. Uncertain balance but giant steps. Elena, the oldest daughter of the king of Spain, comes out of a nearby dressing room and wonders what is going on. Will Roxane have a special dress in comparison with other little boys and girls? No, she hates privileges. Even the future arrival - not planned but desired - of little brothers and sisters just represents a desire of her sharing. "In order to reassure her, I tell her that she is my true love and that my future children will not change it," says Karine.

But Roxane gets angry: "You are not allowed to love me more than you love them; you'll see how cute they'll be with tiny feet..." Karine continues, "I know that Roxane is very happy about this wedding, even if she still regrets that I am not marrying her father. As for me…I still feel guilty in ending her dream. We talked a lot about it. I explained… Happily Gerard is doing well. Carole Bouquet is a wonderful woman and she has a very comfortable house for children. Everything is going well for Roxane. As far as Vincent is concerned, he has known her since she was born. He loves her, respects her and never resents the time I give her. He never pretends to be her father, but still he is very responsible. I can count on him."

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It has been a long time since Vincent became an intimate of Karine.


Did he think of her nine years ago, the first time he met this young woman during a dinner?

"What struck me about him was his great kindness", she remembers. "We were very good friends." They both give assurance, refusing to give credit to the rumor of "back together/separation" people talked about in between the times of Carla Bruni and Jacqueline Bisset for him and Gerard Depardieu for her.

"She's been in my life a long time and a certain day, instead of turning my head somewhere else, I finally felt that my happiness was with her. Since then, I feel more adult. I work better. Karine wants a lot; she wants to face every problem. She's the ideal woman. With her I know where I am going", analyzes Vincent, his eyes sparkling, speaking in an assured voice.

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Karine sweetly answers that "I am attracted by more complex men. I got tired in trying to live something attractive but not satisfying…a struggle that makes you close yourself in. With Vincent I accept that someone takes care of me. He's always there constantly. I know I am his priority. He calms me, and makes me feel alive, without excluding passion."

The decision of getting married came around two months ago after six months of living together. Were you not afraid of such an engagement?

"Not at all," answers Karine decidedly. "My parents showed me the best way of being husband and wife in spite of the differences in culture. They were very much in love, even after thirty years of marriage. My father died four years ago. He was Senegalese and my mother a Bretonne (from the province of Brittany). He was a doctor in Sociology, a diplomat, very busy and very fond of Africa's future, but his family came before anything else. There was no meeting more important than with his four children if any of us had a problem. He respected my mother's independence with her work at the World Health Organization. Vincent is as constant as my father. With him, I have experienced the taste of eternity."

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Vincent looks at Karine and you understand that she is right. "I was not really fond of marriage, of contracts," he agrees, "but when everything became so evident with Karine, all fears and uncertainty disappeared. I only wanted to make her happy. When it was time to arrange everything for the wedding, I was in Africa (filming I Dreamed of Africa directed by Hugh Hudson starring Kim Basinger and Eva Marie Saint) in a reservation surrounded by snakes and lions, and I was stressed thinking about Karine, who had to face it all alone. She came for a while over there with Roxane, and it was wonderful."

Who spoke first about the wedding?

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Karine thinks: "It often came back in our conversation. Once I said, 'would December 18 suit you?' And so everything began. Only the place had to be decided. Sainte Clotilde church in the 7th District in Paris was chosen because Karine, who's very religious, likes to go there to pray. "And because very nearby there is a square with a playground" she adds. At her side will be Yan, 35, one of her brothers. Two hundred guests. Family coming from Africa and also from Switzerland. Vincent's parents still live there, even if his mother is German and his father Spanish. Friends from all over the world.

"During my childhood, I moved every time my father had to for his job, from New York to Burkina, through Mali, and I am still in contact with the people I met at every stop", explains Karine.

After the ceremony, there will be more movies. Vincent is going to work in a film by Raoul Ruiz and will direct a film whose writer is…Karine. "She wrote it during her stay in Africa with the same talent and energy she has in her life", he comments.

After the wedding it will also be a time for family life, as it has been during the past months. Moreover, some memories linger of rose petals thrown in the church courtyard by happy and lively children.

[Written by Patricia Gandin]

[Many thanks to Cinzia Masina for her translation]

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