The Vincent

March 15, 2000                                                 




A Libertine in
Spite of Himself

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An encounter with the most impetuous of our leading men soon on the poster of Le Libertin directed by Gabriel Aghion.

Before you played your role in Le Libertin, what did Diderot make you think of?

When I was at the Conservatory, I touched upon the author's work with Jacques le Fataliste and some other works…  But flirting with these thoughts, to discover this explorer of meaning and freedom made me comfortable with the idea that the inherited taboos, which are passed down to us, can get lost over time. Diderot was clairvoyant. He proposed that there would be a time when each person's responsibility would be to liberate himself, which totally went against the morals of the 18th century.

The heroes in the film combine philosophical essays with carnal desires.  What a contradiction!

Yes, but it all ties into their feelings. The story is set with an adventurer (Fanny Ardant), a young woman (Vahina Giocante), a nymphomaniac (Arielle Dombasle), a wife, a baroness. It should run through all these impulses at the same time that it surrenders itself to some deep reflections. These paradoxes between the body and the spirit create the philosophy of man, and that's what I like about it!

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You appeared nude in a long sequence.  Did you enjoy it?

No, I am not an exhibitionist. What I liked are the replicas of this scene, the reflections on nature.

Are you a narcissist?

Actors are always a little, but I don't particularly like to be looked at. I hide behind my characters.

You have been elected “the most attractive man in French Cinema”…

Beauty doesn't give you anything to look at but a physique. To be in sync with yourself, to question yourself, to accept your mistakes, to appear to be fair, that is real beauty.

Are you gifted with being a libertine?

No. First, because I am very affected by my Catholic education, and also because I have respect for other people. To do something bad, where you would voluntarily introduce a grain of sand into something, which is running perfectly smooth in your life, you would have to be a real idiot! I live in harmony, which was difficult for me to attain previously. Being a libertine in my thoughts is attractive to me, but a sexual libertine, no.

Nevertheless, people recall the talk about you being a formidable seducer…

Oh yeah!  I lived through some intense love affairs, which happens to everybody at a certain time in their life. I had the chance to meet my wife several years ago and to be able to marry one day and live happily (editor's note:  He is married to Karine Silla, daughter of an African diplomat, actress, and she is also the mother of Roxane, whose father is Gerard Depardieu.) This job isn't easy, and to come home and have your wife and nine-month-old daughter take you in their arms is precious!

What are some of your greatest encounters in cinema?

In the latest film, Fanny Ardant. She is so full of grace and so noble and crazy too!  Michael Serrault intimidated me at first, because of his work and comic force. Balasko and Serrault together, an historic moment. I would love to act again with Josie.

Has being an actor always been a dream of yours?

Yes. Very much so. I was able to succeed in my trade and that makes me happy. Directing also tempts me. I have recently directed some short films, L'Echange (The Exchange), Rien Dire (Nothing to Say), Hier, Tu M'as Dit Demain (Yesterday, You Told Me Tomorrow), with scenarios my wife has done. I am moving towards a full-length feature, and we are thinking of doing one this year.

What really affects you?

Injustice, racism, lack of respect for human rights… Because in the year 2000, portability and advanced technology still don't keep children from dying of starvation and cold all over the world. At this moment, one can easily communicate in two seconds all the way across the world, but one cannot give a child what he needs to make him strong tomorrow?

Intimate Notebook

Birth:  June 10, 1964 in Lausanne, Switzerland to a Spanish father and a German mother

Travels:  Loves to travel regularly to the United States, Morocco, Senegal, Spain… but also in France - Brittany and the South

Passions: Painting, drawing and photography.

Film: "Paths of Glory" by Kubrick

Book: "Le Petit Prince de Saint-Exupery"

Music: Bob Marley and Barbra

Color: White

Food: PatÚs

View on life:  “It belongs to you, do something with it.”

[Written by Monique Delanoue-Paynot]

[With special thanks to Janette Sylvian for her French translation]

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