De Gaulle, brilliance and secrecy: what is the France 2 event series worth?

France 2 begins this week the broadcast of its mini-series event “De Gaulle, brilliance and secrecy”. What is this romanticized portrait of the life of General de Gaulle worth?

De gaulle, brilliance and secrecy: what is the france 2 event series worth?
Remy Grandroques

What is it about ?

A series that plunges us into the intimacy of Charles De Gaulle and makes us relive several episodes of the History of France, from the Appeal of June 18, 1940 to his departure from power in 1969, these great moments that the general embodied and shaped.

Created by Patrice Duhamel and Jacques Santamaria with Samuel Labarthe. Seen 2 episodes out of 6.

From Monday November 2 on France 2.

What does it look like ?

Well worth a look ?

This fall we are commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Charles de Gaulle, who died of a heart attack at his home in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises on November 9, 1970. While last March, Lambert Wilson played the General at the cinema in one of his rare incarnations on the screen, it is this week on television and in the guise of Samuel Labarthe that the leader of Free France is again talking about him in the news.

Written by the journalist Patrice Duhamel and the screenwriter Jacques Santamaria, and directed by François Velle, the mini-series De Gaulle, the brilliance and the secrecy proposed as of this Monday, November 2 consists of six episodes; retracing the military and political career of the character, it also offers an unprecedented dive into his private life, exploring the man behind the General’s stature. A historic and intimate fresco described by Samuel Larbathe in a meeting granted to our colleagues in Europe 1 as a “The French Crown”, in reference to the Netflix series dedicated to the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Embodying a figure as mythical as that of De Gaulle is obviously not an easy task. If he declares in this same interview that he wanted at all costs to avoid “limitation”, the former protagonist of The Small Murders of Agatha Christie nevertheless delivers a mixed performance, rarely managing to blend into the skin of the General, due to an unclear physical resemblance but also a desire to reproduce De Gaulle’s emblematic phrasing that removes all spontaneity from his performance. That being said, his performance remains one of the most successful in the program.

The idea of ​​exploring public life and De Gaulle’s private sphere at the same time was obviously the right one; by proceeding in this way, the series lifts the veil on more unknown aspects of her existence, such as her close relationship with Anne de Gaulle, her daughter born with Down’s syndrome. As a whole, the series displays airs of simplified history lessons, the fault in particular to a not very subtle writing of the dialogues, leaving no room for emotion. His shady relationship with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, for example, would have deserved in themselves a treatment of several episodes, and not a simple summary that completely eludes the psychology of this other character with an extraordinary fate.

One of the strengths of De Gaulle, brilliance and secrecy lies in its aesthetics, its allure, due in particular to the important means implemented to shoot in these authentic decorations which made the legend of De Gaulle: the Elysée Palace which he occupied from 1958 to 1969 or his home of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises, which had never before hosted the filming of a fiction. The importance given to historical re-enactments in this series lends credence and presence to this program which is generally quite pleasant to follow.

It took several decades for the figure of General de Gaulle to be finally explored through the prism of fiction; but it will undoubtedly be necessary to wait a few more years for a project to offer a more complex and more nuanced portrait of this major character in the history of our country.

The first three episodes of De Gaulle, brilliance and secrecy are to be discovered this Monday, November 2 on France 2; the entire series can be found in full as of today on the platform France.TV.

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