Philippe Katerine in the JDD: “I’m still a tourist, as an actor and singer”


He became a regular at the Alpe-d’Huez Comedy Film Festival (FAH). We had already met Philippe Katerine at the Isère resort in 2020 for the presentation of the film Lion alongside Dany Boon. This year, on the occasion of the 26th edition of the FAH, the singer has participated in two films in competition: A happy man by Tristan Seguéla and The most beautiful to go dancing, a comedy presented Tuesday evening and received with a standing ovation.

In this funny and emotional first feature from Victoria Bedos, daughter of the comedian Guy Bedos, Philippe Katerine plays with great delicacy the director of a pension for the elderly in denial about the disappearance of his wife ten years earlier. To the point of completely abandoning his daughter, Marie-Luce, an awkward teenager, played remarkably by Brune Moulin, the revelation of the film. After a night too short, he tells JDD more.

This year you are appearing in two films in competition. Will you become the new face of French comedy?
No need to push though. I’m still a tourist, as an actor and as a singer. I’m passing through the land, this is all pretty stealthy.

This is also your second participation in Alpe-d’Huez…
I like it, I find myself in the middle of unfamiliar landscapes. The mountain, the snow, is far from me. I am more of the bocage Vendée, a temperate environment. So coming here is a big heat and culture shock. When it comes to food, I’m not much of a raclette person, although I do enjoy eating socks. I never go on vacation to the mountains, to ski, I tried, it’s not my thing. And then the atmosphere of the festival is very familiar, many films can be previewed. I really liked the new Philippe Lacheau, Alibi.com2. It was folded in half, like paper. They go far, all the way. I really like the visual humor in this strip.

This is not the case of The most beautiful to go dancing, by Victoria Bedos…
They are not gags of that kind, at all…

With this film, the public discovered you in a different register, less whimsical, more emotional… Was it new for you?
Yes, that’s the reason I wanted to act in this movie. For example, I’ve never been asked to cry on screen. It’s completely new to me because even in life, I never cry. My tear glands are clogged. Why, I don’t know…I’m not proud. Not crying is a handicap, a form of impotence. When I see people in tears, I envy them. But Victoria had prepared her blow well. He used legitimate perversity to get me to open the floodgates. He put me in front of a very moving video, with music that brought tears to my eyes, I had not been warned and at that moment the tear glands opened. I couldn’t believe it. My little bottom lip was starting to tremble. I gave up at that point and thanked him. Crying is a relief. So I write very sad and dark songs.

Pushing a mouth on Pierre Richard, was not the goal of my life

What is your main motivation for accepting a role?
New, again. And they served me. What I like most is meeting people. Who would have thought he could have played with Guy Marchand and washed him in a tub; or be groped by Firmine Richard? And then Victoria Bedos has a method of directing an actor, new to me. He has very specific music in his head. She is not in artistic blur. She knows exactly what she wants to achieve and she doesn’t give up. Therefore, we have a rather limited field of action. And I was pleased to find myself on this well-marked path.

It also pushed you to express anger…
It’s not my strong point, it’s true. Sometimes I get mad at my kids but they never believe me and then I’m tired all day. For the film, it was even more difficult because I had to call Pierre Richard, an artist I admire. It has the groove, it’s sexy, it’s musical. So it’s not simple, it’s even impossible. Pushing a mouth on Pierre Richard, was not the goal of my life. It took time…
You play as a father in denial about his wife’s death ten years ago. To the point where she abandons her daughter to take care of the elderly…
Yes, by the way, his night book The praise of the vol by Henri Laborit. I liked the psychological progression of the character as he goes from denial to reconnecting with his emotions. I read Woody Allen’s autobiography and there is this rather amazing line where he says: “Without denial, the world would not move forward”. Well, he writes that, after thirty pages about all the accusations… This little sentence made me think a lot. As for my character, I will rather speak from memory. The memory is well made, it has its holes, it’s like cumbersome, when you throw away old furniture. Memory works that way too, thankfully. My character has buried a lot of painful things, until the day they come to the surface.

You share the poster with the young actress Brune Moulin who stands out as the revelation of the film…
At 15 years old, he is incredibly mature. It’s immediate, you don’t have to look for hours, everything goes very quickly. She has a natural, her blue eyes are magnificent landscapes… On the set, when she passed, everyone took a step back because she was very impressive, me first. It is an indisputable nature of cinema. And then I really like the intergenerational dimension of the film, with teenagers, old people and me in the middle.

I took the side of not paying attention to what people think

For the movie, you wear a wig. Is it a necessary accessory?
It is an idea of ​​Victory. So why not, even though I still have a few hairs under my bum, though. Well, after a while, I still told him: ‘It’s funny, with this wig, I have the same haircut as your father in 1985.’ Sure enough, she was forced to nod. I don’t say anything, but it still looks like a psychological knot.

The film deals with the malaise of adolescence. how was yours
I had a difficult year when I became the scapegoat for my peers. And then, I decided not to care what people think. It was the only way out, being creative as well, drawing in my room, writing songs… I started expressing myself through these so-called “artistic” ways when I was a teenager.

During the opening ceremony on Monday evening, three excerpts from French comedy classics were screened: The dinner of fools, The big mop and the tanned. Which one would you have liked to play?
It’s hard to say. For the shooting environment, The Tanned. Otherwise, I would have liked to be Bourvil The big mop. I love Bourville. I have Bourvils in my family so I know them well. And then there is a wonderful singer who comes from the concert hall, a tradition of generosity, in relation to what one gives, of not being afraid of the grotesque. He is simply great. On the other hand, Le Dîner de cons is not a film that I like that much. There’s a cynical side to it that puts me off a bit.

I would have liked to be Bourvil The big mop

You tour a lot. Is the film complementary to the song?
With the song I am in the center, I lead, I take the initiative. With the cinema I put myself at the service of… And I really like that. According to the directors, it is never the same idea of ​​life. Victoria has nothing to do with Gilles Lelouch, although they also have a very active side. But I’ve also shot with more passive directors, it’s a very interesting experience.

You are also starring in the film A happy manpresented in Alpe…
I play the friend and colleague of Fabrice Luchini who is a deputy and mayor of his city. I won’t say more… It’s really amazing to work with Fabrice Luchini. It is unique, a pleasure to see. It is as you can imagine, he lives his feelings and expresses them fully, even on a set. It’s a show and I was moved. I also have a Sophie Letourneur film, Trip to Italy, a very raw film, as we do not. The story of a couple who want to find each other, also save themselves, and that’s why they go to Italy. We are in sublimated everyday life.

Will you be attending the closing ceremony on Saturday evening?
No, I have to go back to Paris for a concert with the Radio France orchestra, live on France Inter on Saturday evening. It is a new experience for me to sing with an ensemble of fifty musicians. And an incredible honor given to my songs.

Source : Le JDD

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