“Pagnol’s characters still exist in France today”

Marcel Pagnol is admitted to the French Academy (1955). Photo: GI/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.
Marcel Pagnol is admitted to the French Academy (1955). Photo: GI/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Living like in a Marcel Pagnol play, marveling at the sweetness of the world and enjoying life in community, “is precisely what the slow food movement does!” Nicolas Pagnol, the writer and filmmaker’s grandson, believes that the world depicted in the famous Provencal writer’s work is still very much alive.

My grandfather used to write about simple and beautiful things: love, acceptance of difference, sense of family, respect for nature, love of the land. I feel that many young French people are returning to the land and to these values.Nicolas Pagnol

Marcel Pagnol’s grandson is in Quebec to present his production of Jules et Marcel, a play based on the correspondence and witty conversations between Raimu and Pagnol. I did not know my grandfather,” he explains, “but I went to meet him thanks to my grandmother, who allowed me to dig into his archives and discover the diversity of his work. Few people know that in addition to being a formidable playwright, he wrote essays on medicine, for example.”

A free man

Marcel Pagnol, it is known, was an eccentric man. But he was above all, according to his grandson, a courageous artist and a formidable businessman who valued his independence more than anything. He created his studios, his laboratory and bought movie theaters.

What characterized my grandfather was freedom. He didn’t want a producer to impose anything on him. That allowed him to create a cinema that was unlike anything else in the world. He couldn’t have done that if he hadn’t been independent. He was one of the first to think of a film as an author does, controlling every aspect of the production.

See and read:

Dans l’univers de Marcel Pagnol : du théâtre au cinéma, on tour in Quebec starting October 22
– Films by Marcel Pagnol at the Outremont Theatre on October 29 and November 5
La gloire de mon père (manuscript), by Marcel Pagnol, Éditions Les Saints Pères, October 9, 2017

Listen to the interview online on Radio Canada here

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