• France's news in English

Depardieu critic 'a petty-minded pygmy' - Deneuve

AFP · 21 Dec 2012, 17:32

Published: 21 Dec 2012 17:32 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Deneuve's defence came after the reclusive French film legend Brigitte Bardot castigated attacks on a man who is arguably France's leading actor with roles in nearly 170 films.

The hulking 64-year-old star's move to Belgium has been derided as "pathetic" by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault while another top French actor, Philippe Torreton, publicly accused him of sulking like a playground creep.

Deneuve, a chiselled blonde actress whose career spans nearly a half-century, questioned Torreton's credentials to attack a giant of French cinema in an open letter in the left-wing Liberation daily .

She told Torreton her "anger was borne of your hasty judgements made without thinking and this pettiness," adding: "You take aim at his physique! At his talent!

"'This mess' that you speak of. What right, what democratic motive do you claim as your dirty condemnation?" she said. "The actor is a giant and you are expressing nothing but your bitterness.

"I shudder to think what you would have done in 1789," she said, referring to the French Revolution in which the king and queen were beheaded and tens of thousands – notably aristocrats and the bourgeois – were killed.

Deneuve also flayed the prime minister's "pathetic" remark and a comment by Labour Minister Michel Sapin that the shift to Belgium signified Depardieu's "personal decline" as "words not worthy of men of state."

Torreton had in a vitriolic attack on Tuesday accused Depardieu of being an outspoken, money-obsessed lout with "dictator friends."

The latter was a reference to Uzbekistan's strongman leader Islam Karimov whose pop star daughter recently recorded a duet with Depardieu.

Bardot – who keeps out of the public eye and only speaks on animal issues – had also defended Depardieu, who she said had been "the victim of extremely unfair persecution".

She told Torreton to "keep his venom, his vulgarity, his mediocrity and his jealousy to insult someone worthy of the bother".

Depardieu on Sunday threatened to give up his French passport and take up Belgian citizenship to protest at the Socialist government's new tax hike on the rich.

He made the threat after Ayrault called him "pathetic" for making Belgium his formal place of residence, a move designed to help the actor avoid the French tax.

Story continues below…

Depardieu has joined some of France's wealthiest business figures in Belgium following moves by President Francois Hollande's government to tax annual incomes above one million euros ($1.3 million) at 75 percent.

Unlike France, Belgium does not impose a wealth tax and has not had one since 1830. Its income and inheritance taxes are also lower.   

In his letter, Depardieu, who has extensive business interests including wine estates and three Paris restaurants, accused the Socialists of driving France's most talented figures out of the country.

He said that over 45 years of working and running businesses in France he had paid €145 million into state coffers. He claimed to have paid 85 percent tax on his earnings in 2012.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available