“My father was unfit for real life”

La Croix: What do you have left of your father?

Clemence Rochefort : Striking sentences like ” you have to learn to dream. We don’t dream enough anymore. Or, he who was in great pain after the interrupted filming of the Don Quixote, de Terry Gillian : « Enjoy the silence of your body. »The desire and the sense of transmission. And values, such as the passion for life, respect for others, hindsight, the need for self-mockery. ” Laughing at yourself saves us from everything. »

How did he reconcile his opposite sides, fantasy and melancholy?

C. F. : By the way of fiction. My father was unfit for real life, which distressed him. Very shy, he got away with laughter and pirouette. He sought above all in all circumstances to “ do not annoy others ». As soon as filming started or he entered the stage, he found himself in his universe, lightened, happy.

How did he work, did he prepare his roles?

C. F. : In the forest, on horseback or in your corner so as not to burden your loved ones. He remained discreet but he worked a lot. Well-known actor, he didn’t want to add more with us. When we were children, he threatened us with his big smile: ” If you do something stupid, to punish you, I put you in front of one of my films! In reality, he did not boast of his status. In life, he remained very humble.

We knew he was prone to depression. What memories do you keep of it?

C. F. : The depressions came after the fiasco of Don Quixote [en 2000, NDLR], that he had to leave, hurt. He never got back on his horse again and dragged his sadness, in addition to his physical aches, for almost a year. Until then, he was prone to periods of cockroach, especially with the approach of winter. There again, he isolated himself and tried not to encumber us with the darkness of his moods.

→ READ. Jean Rochefort, the melancholy fantasy

In what roles do you like your father?

C. F. : In Tandem, where I find his humor and his fragility. And also in Cartridge, in The Devil by the Tail, by Philippe de Broca, in Let the festivities begin, by Bertrand Tavernier. I discovered my young father whom I did not know… In these films of very high quality where everything was written to perfection, lit and staged as in a dream. He often said it.

How did the need for this book come to you?

C. F. : Step by step. I wrote bits of memories. The need to put them together in a book crept in. I received a very modest education. You don’t unwrap your life. I wanted this book to be like him. I feared the “daughter of…” effect. I had this apprehension.

You yourself are an actress. Did your father encourage you on this path?

C. F. : At first he dissuaded me. I had entered a journalism school. One day he needed me in a short film. After the shoot, he examined my envy with another look. I needed his approval. He was distilling some advice. ” In this job, you have to cultivate your singularity, not look like everyone else, and work a lot. Do it only if it is vital for you, if it is more than a passion, a deep necessity. There is too much competition. When he saw me play, he gave me confidence, without judging me. In recent years, he dreamed of seeing us play together in the theater …

→ CHRONICLE. Jean Rochefort, unsung hero

Do you write that you want to take your book on stage? Will you do it?

C. F. : I hesitate. Should I stay in my father’s story, still talk about him? But writing this book has done me so much good. When I finished, I was still not at ease. I needed him to come out, the gaze and feedback of others.

What do you have in project after this book?

C. F. : A documentary on Parisian newsstands.


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