Before “De Gaulle” by Gabriel Le Bomin, broadcast this evening on France 2, very few films had been interested in the life of the General, still to this day considered a major figure in the History of France. For what reasons ?
He remains one of the most popular figures in the history of France and yet… 52 years after his death, very few films have tried the challenge of adapting the life of General de Gaulle to the screen at least until the movie comes out DeGaulle of Gabriel LeBominbroadcast tonight on France 2.
Considered a major figure in the history of our country, why has de Gaulle been so little represented in the cinema, while his counterpart Winston Churchill appears on the contrary at an almost annual rate in works of British fiction? ?
The first reason is historical. Hero of the Second World War, Charles de Gaulle embodies the symbol of the Resistance, of this flame that does not go out, and at the end of the conflict he embodies an almost sacred figure for French opinion.
Moreover, the director Rene Clement had justified his choice not to have the General appear in his film Is Paris burning? only through archival footage by his “ability to represent the devil (Editor’s note: Hitler, embodied by Billy Frick) but not the good Lord”. Adored, Charles de Gaulle nevertheless generated a lot of criticism during his stay at the Elysée from 1958 to 1969, since the traumas of the Algerian war and the student protest movements of May 68 finally pushed him to resign. .
Although heckled and tarnished by his political adversaries, the image of the General has nonetheless remained strongly favorable over the decades, a paradox therefore since the character de Gaulle had never appeared through fiction in the cinema. , while some of his successors received this honour, sometimes even during the performance of their duties (Nicolas Sarkozy in The conquestFrançois Hollande in The Last Campaign…).
Then comes the second reason: the impossibility of embodying General de Gaulle. Because of his large size but also his emblematic features, the latter obviously cannot be embodied by the first actor to come.
Moreover, the director Bertrand Tavernier entrusted to our colleagues point that he had developed a biopic devoted to de Gaulle; project that never came to fruition, in particular because of the will of the producer Rene Cleitman to entrust the title role to Gérard Depardieuin defiance of an unobvious physical resemblance.
To say that the life of Charles De Gaulle has never been brought to the screen is not entirely correct since this observation only concerns cinema. On television, several telefilms have indeed been devoted to the General, for results most often of good quality: I, General de Gaulle in 1990 (with Henri Serre), The Great Charles in 2006 (with Bernard Farcy), Farewell de Gaulle, farewell in 2009 (with Pierre Vernier) or even I understood you (with Patrick Chesnay) and The Appeal of June 18 (Michel Vuillermoz) both released in 2010.
It will therefore have been necessary to wait half a century after his death for a film dedicated to Charles de Gaulle to finally see the light of day: this biopic by Gabriel Le Bomin with Lambert Wilson in the lead role takes a look backstage at the June 18 roll call. The film had also recorded one of the best starts of the year 2020 at the box office, to end its career at nearly 870,000 admissions. A figure to be welcomed, since it is obviously necessary to take into account the context of the pandemic and the multiple confinements of that year.