Speech by Mr. Frédéric Mitterrand, Minister of Culture and Communication, on the occasion of the presentation of the decoration to Hervé de LUZE (Chevalier de l'ordre National du Mérite), Luc BARNIER (Chevalier de l'ordre National du Mérite), Richard ANTHONY (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) and Danièle GILBERT (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters)
Dear Hervé de Luze,
“Being an editor is a bit like being a doctor, no matter what the tools, only the diagnosis matters.” Those are your words. If the language of life is in Pasolini’s eyes «a chaos of possibilities, a search for relationships and meaning without continuity solutions», the language of montage is, for its part, this singular relationship between images, and especially at the beginning of each film, between virtualities not yet updated. The editors are those who know the pleasure of seeing what is not seen, the secret continuities the grafts, the collures and the cuts, the faults and the echo chambers of the story. They are the artisans, as Jean-Luc Godard says, of “what makes you see”.
I am very pleased to welcome one of the most recognized French assemblers in the profession. Your collaborations with great directors, from auteur to popular cinema, make you a personality whose talent is authoritative, especially because the editing of a film, for you, must not be felt, it must remain «transparent», as André Bazin said.
Your adolescence, you spend it in movie theaters. Your father worked in distribution and programming at Gaumont, and you went to the movies twice a week. Then, thanks to your sister, who worked at the Photothèque de la Cinémathèque Française, you meet the master of the place Henri Langlois who marks your life: The Langlois method was editing. His classes were only montages!"
At the beginning of your career, you create topical topics and cultural short films for Gaumont Actualité, then the great music lover you are turns to sound illustration. You become a music editor for historical television series produced by Gaumont television and the production company Télécip. You prefer your job as a music editor that leaves more room for imagination and creation than current journalism. At that time, you distinguished yourself in the short film for directors such as Gérard Marx, Olivier Assayas, Jacques Robiolles, Pascal Kane or Robert Salis.
However, it is with the feature film that you will reveal your sense of the film narrative and that will make you known. There is first Marie doll by Joël Séria in 1976 and Mais où est donc Ornicar by Bertrand Van Effenterre three years later. 1976, is the beginning of a film adventure that will spread over thirty years with one of the greatest directors: Roman Polanski. He contacts you to edit the American version of Tess, a shortened version: you are one of the only assemblers left in Paris during the holidays, and from this collaboration «of the order of the bandage» will be born between you two a friendship and an exceptional understanding; Today you sometimes finish the sentences he begins.
This is a golden age for you. During the 1980s you work on Eclipse on an old road to Compostela by Bernard Férié, 2 hours less a quarter before Jesus Christ by Jean Yanne, The Phony City by Jacques Barratier, and you start a long collaboration with Claude Berri. You won the Prix de Rome at Villa Médicis in 1985 for your own short film Poste restante.
Again Roman Polanski with Pirates the following year, again Claude Berri of which you are the editor in charge; I think of Jean de Florette, Manon des Sources, both rewarded, and the magisterial Germinal who won two Césars in 1994. In 1995 there will also be Maurice Pialat, whose style you understand, who you are passionate about, and with whom you spend hours talking about everything except the Garçu that you ride with him.
I cannot mention all the films on which you have brought your precious touch and without concession. You are the magician of resounding successes and some masterpieces, I think in particular of the moving Pianist of Polanski.
Yet there is another filmmaker who has marked your career: Alain Resnais. You ride We know the song for which you get the César for Best Editing, Pas sur la bouche, Coeur, Les Herbes folles, which won the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize two years ago.
With Polanski, it’s intuitive, with Resnais, it’s very precise and with Berri it was very wild, trust yourself, so many ways of working that make you the second brain of their films.
Whether it’s about auteur films or comedies, you want to find the dynamics of each montage, without ever losing sight of your perception as a spectator. You are among the personalities of the 7th art that contribute to the excellence and the influence of our cinematography in France and abroad.
Dear Hervé de Luze, on behalf of the President of the Republic, we make you a Knight in the National Order of Merit.
Dear Luc Barnier,
Director Robert Bresson described it all too well: A film is born three times. The first time, when the script is being written, the second time when it’s being shot, and the third time when it’s being edited.” Alter ego of the shadow, the editors are the masters of chaos, the magnificent and often unknown tamers of the profusion of rushes and multiple takes, scenarios to decipher, sound to mount, music to add, delays to master, effects to slide and the director’s requirement to calm. They are the magicians who can make or die an actor in too short or too long a time who presses a glance or who will bring alive the silences. Among them are masters, and dear Luc Barnier, you are one of them. With some of the greatest hits of the French box office, you are the shadow figure of a hundred films that we all loved.
Since the short film by Bernard Marzolf, Feux de nuit, and your co-direction with Alain Lasfargues of the beautiful documentary Les Oiseaux de Nuit, you have worked with the most talented and promising directors of your generation.
Your meeting with Olivier Assayas will start a collaboration never interrupted since his short Leaved unfinished in Tokyo, by way of Clean in which Maggie Cheung will receive the award of female interpretation in Cannes, or the collective Paris, I love you, until Après mai, currently shooting.
With Anne Fontaine, you collaborate at the excellent Dry Cleaning or Coco before Chanel, to name just a few.
Benoît Jacquot also appeals to you, as does Youssef Chahine, for example for the beautiful Adieu Bonaparte with Michel Piccoli and Patrice Chéreau, or Dany Boon who entrusts you with Julie Delord the editing of Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis and Rien à déclarer. You should also mention Place Vendôme by Nicole Garcia where you will be nominated with Françoise Bonnot at the César for the best assembly in 1999.
In the very vast list of your collaborations, allow me, dear Luc, to take this opportunity to recall the work we have done together on my two films, Lettres d'amour de Somalia and Madame Butterfly, which I have fond memories of: I admired the meticulousness and speed of your work, your extraordinary ability to split you, your immense sense of detail. Pragmatic in your reading of dramaturgy, contemplative if necessary, you have trained a whole generation of editors who today know everything they owe you, including on the computer platforms you were one of the first to explore.
Dear Luc Barnier, your visionary, demanding and enthusiastic spirit has always won over the industry, and the absolute confidence that so many directors have in you today is one of the testimonies of your very fine contribution to French cinema. On behalf of the President of the Republic, we make you a Knight of the National Order of Merit.
Dear Richard Anthony,
To have you here with me is a whole era that resurfaces and lives on in our memories, that of the Rock years and the Sweet Sixties. I was 15 when I discovered the unforgettable ride and I hear the train whistling, your adaptation of Five Hundred Miles. You may not be surprised, to learn, how much this song, for me as for many of my generation, colored the slowly melancholic hours of my adolescence. But Richard Anthony is above all the pioneer of American rock «in VF», the great rival of Johnny Hallyday, the man with 61 million sold records and 21 hits at the number 1 of the hit parade.
After growing up all over the world, after going to high school that I know well, the Lycée Janson-de-Sharily, an in and out in law, you become a salesman in refrigerators when your father dies, while practicing saxophone in jazz clubs: fridges and jazz, it sounds like Boris Vian. With a taste for Anglo-Saxon pop, you decide to record covers in French of the titles of Paul Anka or Buddy Holly, You are my destiny and Peggy Sue. Columbia Records gives you a chance. In September 1959, sales began to take off with your version of Three Cool Cats of the Coasters, New Wave. It’s a huge success that propels you into the sphere of celebrity. King of the cover, you are nicknamed «the quiet father of the twist» or «the Tino Rossi of the rock and roll», yet you are not so quiet, and life, you burn it by both ends. Your talent was to follow the evolution of music, to surf on the wind of freedom and to introduce rock in France. Your multiple influences range from Ray Charles to the Beatles, from the Stones to Bob Dylan. We owe you dozens of hits like Donner-moi ma chance, Fich’ le camp Jack, Itsy Bitsy petit bikini, Now you can go, Ecoute dans le vent or Aranjuez mon amour, an adaptation of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Aranjuez Concerto which is becoming a worldwide success. On the strength of your success in France you will be able to take advantage of the importance of a production company like EMI to launch your titles abroad.
The 1970s are more difficult, you divorce your wife Michèle. About Michele, you give an amazing anecdote in your autobiography When We Choose Freedom. Paul McCartney would have asked you to sing his famous «Michelle» simply because your wife had that name and you would have refused, fearing that the public would find it ridiculous for you to make a declaration of love to your wife. If you thought it was a miscalculation, this story reflects the notoriety and reputation you had already built.
You settled in Saint-Paul-de-Vence for seven years and returned in 1974 with a song now cult Lovers of my wife. Four years later you go to Los Angeles with your new wife Sabine to do production, it is now in the opposite direction that you act, you export the French melodies in the American bins, you will produce including Indian Summer, an English adaptation of Joe Dassin’s Indian Summer.
The 1980s are even more eventful and do not spare you. But you recover from all your troubles and at the beginning of the 1990 EMI releases a box set of 300 songs that quickly becomes triple gold disc. No one has forgotten you, and it is with this balm in your heart that you take the paths of the studios to re-record your hits for France and for Spain with the album Sentimental.
Recently you’re still enjoying your reputation with the Tender Age and Wood Heads tour, where you share the spotlight with old friends like Leny Escudero and Frank Alamo. The atmosphere is more humorous than sad nostalgia.
You are an ardent personality of the variety, today more serene, raised by a cancer, you give yourself plainly in two autobiographies full of tasty anecdotes It is necessary to believe in the stars in 1994 and When one chooses freedom.
Dear Richard Anthony, you remain a star of rock and variety, in France and in the world, who have done so much for popular music in the second half of the 20th century. It is therefore with joy that, on behalf of the French Republic, we make you an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Dear Danièle Gilbert,
You confide in «feeling in France as in the street of my childhood», and it is true, you have indeed remained in the heart of all French our «national» Danièle of television. It is a constant euphoria, an unbridled optimism, a frank and spontaneous taste, a family spirit, the love of others, the contact with all the audiences that make you a myth of the show host of the 1970s and 1980s. Emblematic star of the French small screen, you have breathed a tremendous freshness into the profession of presenter.
The Auvergne lover of literature who was destined after a degree in German to the teaching professions made her debut as an animator at the regional station of Clermont-Ferrand. You took drama classes to improve your diction and it was in these courses that the radio came to make its selection. Taken immediately, you become a journalist on regional television. The ORTF is calling on all provincial television speakerines to replace Anne-Marie Peysson during her post-delivery rest. You’re going through a trial run, but there’s a general change of opinion that Anne-Marie Peysson will not be replaced and the test reels will be forgotten. It was thanks to the curiosity of Max Favalelli, the famous referee Des chiffres et des Lettres, who was looking for the new show Sept et deux, a presenter, immersed herself in the viewing of these reels and discovered the face and voice of Danièle Gilbert, that France will discover. He gives you a phone call, neither one nor two, it’s yes and here you are in Paris. The show lasts until the beginning of May 1968. After the summer of 1968, a whole series of facilitators were replaced. The Jacques Chabannes Paris Club show, aired at half past noon, is no longer available, and Georges Folgoas is responsible for this time slot. On September 10, 1968, Midi Magazine was born, with Danièle Gilbert as production assistant. The first one has mishaps, and Georges Folgoas calls you to help him on the next show. The very next day you present your first Midi Magazine. Then Jacques Martin comes to join you on this lunch break, and the crazy duo Martin/Gilbert meets an immediate success.
To replace Jacques Martin, who saw his career grow in stature and can no longer cover all the programs, we call on Pierre Tchernia, Henri Tisot, Claude Brasseur, Georges de Caunes, Georges Ulmer or Antoine; only you, Danièle Gilbert, stay at Midi Magazine. We all have memories of this show, a Coluche over here, a fall in the pool of the Majestic in Cannes in full broadcast over there, and so on. In 1972 the idea came to have no more official host with Danièle Gilbert, but a different artist every week, coming to co-present the show. The great ones lend themselves to exercise with pleasure: Mireille Mathieu the first, you will also have as guests Charles Aznavour, Trenet or even Brassens.
Then on TF1 which has just been born, a new appointment is planned: Midi-Première, of which you are also the producer. Great moments of television, encounters with famous artists and discovery of provincial talent but not only, I think of the group Supertramp. Until 1982, by offering entertainment in gag and discoveries, you know with Jacques Pierre, the director of the show and the «family of 101» composed of Françoise, Claude Le Tessier, Dominique Bastidon a popularity remained intact today.
Despite the end of your duties following the 1981 presidential elections, despite your absence on television for twenty years, you continue to pursue what you have always been good at, going to meet the French. I also remember, happily, our Nuit des starlettes presented in Cannes. You also practice your talents in the song, in the theatre in Presse People and Rassurons les autruches.
Needless to say, I believe that you are still sparkling, and that your authentic way of being, attentive, playful and optimistic, has made you one of the most beloved media personalities in France.
Dear Danièle Gilbert, on behalf of the French Republic, we make you a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters.