“Starmania”, genesis of a rock opera that has become cult


To the feeling of nostalgia aroused by this type of musical documentary is added a note of sadness since the death, almost three years ago, of France Gall. The singer hardly liked her role in Starmania, but it will give him a taste for the stage.

This is illustrated by the numerous archives – often unpublished – of the film by Thomas Snégaroff and Olivier Amiot, which traces the adventure of this rock opera, by Luc Plamondon and Michel Berger, created in 1978, while producing a comedy music seemed a bit crazy at the time.

Read also In “Starmania”, France Gall was “not happy to play Cristal”

The double album of Starmania, released in full disco wave, in October 1978, “Is welcomed like a UFO”, underlines Thomas Snégaroff. And all the more so since most of the performers – with the exception of Diane Dufresne and France Gall – are not known.

Aware that their show will not see the light of day if sales do not reach 100,000 copies within two months, Luc Plamondon and Michel Berger scour the radio studios and TV shows.

Last stand

In December, while the album is on its way to becoming the flop of the year, the two accomplices are entrusted with a special program where, in a final last stand, they present, with the future performers of the comedy, all or part of the songs. The click occurs with Against each other, first tube of Starmania.

Read also France Gall and Michel Berger, unforgettable couple of French song

Four months later, on April 10, 1979, at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, the premiere was held in front of 4,000 spectators, to whom the two authors of the film agreed. Indeed, by a skilful game of montage of photos and archives, a broad overview of the show is restored. Even if the quality of the images of the capture is quite mediocre, we are consoled by the fact that the interpretations are given in their entirety.

This is not the least attraction of this film which is teeming with anecdotes – including the one which wants Michel Berger to have found, at the bottom of the wastepaper basket where Luc Plamondon had thrown it, the text of One against the other, that Maurane, Céline Dion, etc. will resume before the English version of the album, released in July 1992. That is to say a month before the death of Michel Berger, visionary creator in more than one way.

Starmania, the rock opera that defies time, by Thomas Snégaroff and Olivier Amiot (Fr., 2017, 115 min).

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