Clint and him? “It’s a long story that he doesn’t even realize.” So necessarily, “I love Clint more than he loves me”, classic asymmetry. Is it sad for all that? No. Journalist, film critic, Eric Libiot tells in Clint and me his fascination and affection for the American actor and director born in 1930 in San Francisco, whom he intelligently portrays. Eric Libiot convincingly defends the following idea: Clint Eastwood is not a stubborn nationalist, even if he is a Republican and in favor of carrying weapons. Detective Harry, it’s not him; let us separate the man and the character. Unlike John Wayne, he is not the “Symbol of a heroic America, the shirt sewn into the star-spangled banner”. American Sniper (2014), an Eastwood film that Libiot rightly defends, “Paints a country incapable of saving its heroes and which is still harboring illusions when the enemy is more the traumatized American soldier than the local Iraqi”. It would be wrong to see it as a patriotic film glorifying the war in Iraq, which Eastwood did not approve of. Focusing on “The director Clint” more than on “The Clint only actor”, Eric Libiot draws “The major pieces of the Clintian chessboard”. Eastwood understands the nuances, he tells “What is contradictory in the human being and the way in which one can accommodate it”. Three films of his idol have his preference: Ruthless, A perfect world and On the road to Madison.
Eric Libiot met Clint Eastwood six times according to our calculations, between 1998 and 2014. Between him and the star, nothing in particular happened. But for the journalist with a rather discreet temperament, that was already a lot. Libiot recounts these interviews with humor and tenderness and slips in passing a correct remark on the art of the interview: “A good question is a question that comes after a good answer.” Clint and me is also a cinephile’s scholarly book and a reflection on American cinema.
It is also a self-portrait of the author. Born in Brest, he arrived in Paris in 1981 after a happy youth with his family. He studied cinema at university, saw a lot of films, and worked at Radio Beur. He draws on the right, on the left. Libiot’s father occupies an important place in Clint and I, and the pages devoted to it are moving. This man died in circumstances which prevented his son from saying goodbye to him. “’Rest on the pillow of doubt,’ my father told me. I often take a nap there, dad. ”
Eric Libiot Clint and me Lattès, 200 pp., € 19 (ebook: € 13.99).