Published: 04 Jan 2013 11:27 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 04 Jan 2013 11:27 GMT+01:00
Gérard Depardieu, who has just been granted Russian citizenship, has sent an extraordinary open letter to Russian media expressing his love for the country. The letter was published on television channel Piervyi Kanal's website.
The full text of the letter in English:
Yes, I made this passport application and I'm pleased to say that it was accepted. I adore your country, Russia - its men, its history, its writers. I love to make films there, and love to tour with your actors, such as Vladimir Mashkov. I adore your culture, your intelligence.
My father was a communist, he listened to Radio Moscow! This is also my culture. In Russia you can live well. Not so much in Moscow, which is too large a megapolis for me. I prefer the countryside and I know some marvellous places in Russia.
One place I love, for example, is the place where the Gosfilmofond (Russian Film Archives), directed by my friend Nikolai Borodachev, is located. On the edge of the birch forests I feel a sense of well-being. And I will be learning Russian.
I have also spoken to my President, François Hollande. I told him all of this. He knows that I like your President, Vladimir Putin very much, and that the feeling is reciprocal. And I told him that Russia was a great democracy and was not a country where the prime minister treated a citizen shabbily.
I really like the press, but it's also really boring, as there is too often a uniformity of thought. However, out of respect for your president and for your great country, I have nothing more to add.
If I have anything more to say about Russia, it would be this piece of prose that has come to mind:
It is only in a country as big as this that one is never alone,
As each tree, each landscape brings hope to us,
There is no pettiness in Russia, there are only great feelings,
And behind these feelings a great sense of decency.
In your immensity I never feel alone,
Translation: The Local
For months the people of the tiny seaside hamlet of Larmor-Baden in Brittany have been living in fear as a serial arsonist has burned down properties at will. On Wednesday French police appeared to have made a breakthrough. READ () »
Flash floods in south west France claimed their second victim on Wednesday when a 75-year-old man was swept away to his death in the raging waters. The flooded Catholic shrine of Lourdes was like 'a scene from a disaster movie' according to one hotel owner. READ () »
As temperatures rise and the rains continue to fall, concerns in France have turned to the country’s surging mosquito population. A new interactive map looks set to give residents and holiday-makers a head start in avoiding those nasty mossie bites. READ () »
A reptile enthusiast died after being bitten by a viper during a demonstration in southern France, which was aimed to help audiences overcome their fear of snakes. The man died from a heart attack due to a rare allergy, his colleague told The Local. READ () »
A suspected member of the notorious Pink Panther gang of international jewel thieves has been arrested near Paris, police sources told AFP on Wednesday. READ () »
Two of France's most famous luxury brands look set for a bitter court battle after deluxe bag maker Hermès accused the Louis Vuitton group LVMH of "historic fraud", as a long running bitter feud took a new twist on Wednesday. READ () »
French airline company Air France confirmed on Wednesday a multi-billion euro order of Airbus's new A350 planes. The planes are not yet in service and only recently carried out a test flight (see video). READ () »
The days of the rude Paris waiter or shopkeeper may soon be over. As part of a new campaign, Paris tourism chiefs published a training manual this week aimed at teaching Parisians who come into contact with tourists how to offer them a better welcome. READ () »
The historic Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes in south west France was evacuated on Tuesday after flash floods hit the area. Management at the shrine have told The Local they are growing increasingly concerned as waters continue to rise. READ () »
As a provocative new anti-smacking video campaign by the Fondation pour l'Enfance (Foundation for Childhood) causes a stir in France, the man behind the drive Dr. Gilles Lazimi tells The Local why France needs a law banning parents from smacking their kids. READ () »