around in a mercurial whirl of grand gestures. His Columbus is so much bigger than life that we’ll forgive him anything. So what if he’s meant to be Italian but speaks with a thick French accent he keeps talking about the spaces in China, which is puzzling until you realise he means ‘spices’ so what if he blunders his way into centuries of colonial pillage and outright genocide: it’s still Gerard and we love him dearly.

He’s no drama school fop either. A teenage tearaway from a small provincial town , his success story and indeed his whole persona as a performer is based on

A teenage tearaway from a small provincial town, his success story-and indeed his whole persona as a performer— is based on the idea that nothing’s impossible.

the idea that nothing’s impossible. Depardieu will always be the underdog made good because he has dared to dare. Like a French Jack Nicholson, no matter how many private jets or vineyards he owns, he’s still one of us. He’s the only continental actor moviegoers will turn out for on a regular basis, simply to see just what he’ll be up to next.

One does wonder, however, how far he can push it before he loses us. Much media consternation surrounded the Time magazine article just before the 1991 Oscars which trawled up a fifteen-year-old interview and implicated the adolescent Depardieu in a series of youthful sexual assaults. The theory goes that he actually used the French verb ‘assister’ , which means ‘to be present at’ as well as ‘to participate in’, but the allegations have never been

be as unpredictable and eclectic as ever. Similar to our own dear Anthony Hopkins or Michael Caine, he has always liked to work and keep on working. That certainly doesn’t look like changing.

satisfactorily cleared up, and this shadow hanging in the past may yet harm his chances of truly making it in the Hollywood scheme of things.

For the immediate future, though, his European base seems assured. There are plans for a version of Zola’s Germinal with Claude Berri, while both he and Kenneth Branagh Depardieu revoiced and distributed Henry V in France have often spoken of their desire to do some screen Shakespeare together. Having earned the right to do what he wants, Depardieu’s choice of projects will doubtless continue to

1492: Conquest of Paradise opens in Scotland on Friday 23 October. A season of films starring Gerard Depardieu begins on Channel 4 on Saturday 7 November with Cyrano de Bergerac. Depardieu by Marianne Gray is published in paperback by Warner Books at£4. 99.

highlights for any cinematic Francophile.

The Festival’s placing on the European cinema calendar means that it has managed to beat the London Film Festival to some very prestigious British premieres that come ! hot from Venice‘s highly regarded annual event. Jean-Jacques Beineix follows Diva and Betty Blue with ll’5. the story of a dying old man who befriends two graffiti artists while searching the countryside fora mythical long-lost love. The film has gained a certain notoriety in France amid claims that the director pushed his star. Yves Montand. further than the latter’s health would allow particularly in one scene in which Montand wades through an icy lake leading to the actor’s death earlier this year during the final days ofshooting. Regardless of production scandal. however. Montand's last screen role is a quietly dignified performance that captures the essence ofold age.

Elsewhere in the programme. Catherine Deneuve stars as a French colonial running a rubber plantation in 1930s Vietnam in Regis Wargnier’s romantic epic lndochine: Isabelle Huppert is Madame Bovary in Claude Chabrol‘s faithful adaptation ofthe Flaubert classic: and Issach De Bankole (seen in Jim Jarmusch’s Night On Earth) stars in Claire (Chocolat) Denis’s powerful depiction ofillegal cock-fighting. S'En Foul La Mort. Among those attending the Festival are Josiane Balasko (the object of

Yves Montand in|P5 Festival would seem to have established a secure footing for the years to come. As Moreau herselfsays. ‘It is entirely appropriate that Scotland should host the Festival. given the historical connections of the Auld Alliance . . . It‘s a new venture. boldly going where no one has gone before. and is precisely the kind of adventurous initiative that deserves to succeed.‘

the omnipresent Dcpardieu’s affections in Trap Belle Pour 'l’oi). who writes. directs and stars in Ma Vie list Un [in/er. a devilishly funny twist to the Faustian legend: Patrice Nola. who performs similar tasks in Au Nom [)u l’ere [it [)u Fils. a semi-autobiographical account of his father's murder fourteen years ago: and Gerard Jugnot whose Une Epoehe formidable is a bittersweet comedy set amongst the Parisian homeless and one of France‘s biggest hits of the past year. Under the patronage ofveteran actress Jeanne Moreau and with the support ofthe French film industry. the French Film

The French Film F esti val runs from 24—31 October at the Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Film/louse. See Film Index and Listings for details.

The List 23 October- 5 November 1992 7