View of the Louis de Funès exhibition at the Cinémathèque de Paris in July 2020 - cinémathèque

  • The Cinémathèque française has opened an exhibition dedicated to Louis de Funès.
  • The exhibition looks back at the actor's career and success, but also at the sources of his extraordinary comic genius.
  • Louis de Funès is part of the French cultural heritage in the same way as Molière.

The Cinémathèque de Paris is devoting an exhibition to an actor for the first time: the emblematic Louis de Funès. A retrospective on the great career of one who succeeds in mocking social hierarchies and the forces of power in a game that is always funny. Put in the spotlight in this “sacred place” of moviegoers, would the popular comic actor once shunned by critics and authors settle permanently in the Pantheon of French cinema?

A visit to the Cinémathèque française (before May 31, 2021) should be enough to convince you.

Unique comic talent

Already in the elevator, strange noises make us listen. Yes, it's Louis de Funès imitating the hen. As soon as you entered the entrance, "Fuck me the camp! "," Paf! " " My doe ! "Is it over, yes?" ! Are inscribed on the walls of the exhibition. Films after films, Louis de Funès used to replay these expressions with the same enthusiasm. Today become cults, it is enough to read them these exclamations so that the character takes shape.

Electric battery and atomic face, Louis de Funès exhibits at the Cinémathèque française, from July 15. Trailer !

Info and reservations: # LouisdeFunès # reopening # event #exposition

- The Cinematheque (@cinemathequefr) June 26, 2020

First start in the universe of Funès, we then discover the heroes who inspired it: Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Chaplin. Their expressiveness, their rhythm and their comedy had a strong influence on his acting. Contortionist of laughter, his plastic fantasy and his genetic heritage made him famous "almost to the point of making him a character of animation" adds the exhibition curator Alain Kruger. The one who makes you laugh has become a monument to French cinema. Be careful, it will rain a list of names of cult films and filmmakers…

At the top of the box office

In a dark room,  Claude Autant-Lara's La Traversée de Paris is screened. Alongside Jean Gabin and Bourvil, De Funès signs his first role in cinema there in 1956. The legendary scene of the film takes place, immortalized by a photograph hanging on the walls of the exhibition of a man in the process of rehearsing his text to the main actor: the black market pig that Jambier, embodied by de Funès, must transport across the capital. First cinematic consecration, after having chained the small roles, the career of the actor is launched.

Illuminated room, tinged with orange, dressed in 1950s-60s furniture and part of the car from the cult film  Fantomas, we are now diving into the Thirty Glorious Years marked by the success of the actor. In just seven years, Louis de Funès has been showing some 80 films. With his friends from the Branquignols troupe, all children of jazz and war, he will play in  Ah, les belles bacchantes  which will experience notable success in 1954.

Subsequently, marked by his meeting with Gérard Oury on the boards in the 1940s, he later suggested to the director to opt for comedy. Together, they will shoot their best films including Le Corniaud (1965), La Grande Vadrouille (1966), La Folie des grandeurs (1971), Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973). In these films, de Funès embodies the era of his time, from Gaullism to pompidolism. By his "taste for the transvestite via his costumes and his theatrical body", he plays, mocks and caricatures both the powerful that he interprets. He who “made people climb on stepladders to show how small he was” is now at the top of the box office without knowing that he will leave a lasting impression.

"Molière, actor, had to play like that"

Love, friends, cinema ... The exhibition thought by the curator Alain Kruger is "not punctuated by a chronological sense but by emotional sequences". It highlights the greatest successes of the actor and the personalities who have accompanied him throughout his career. Until the endless  Le Crocodile  by Gérard Oury, which will never see the light of day following the death of Louis de Funès and then Peter Sellers.

"Molière, actor, had to play like that" said of him Jean Anouilh after his interpretation in the Miser. Popular, intercultural and intergenerational figure, "hard to believe that he died 37 years ago already" remarked the curator at the end of his visit. No matter the age or the era, the burlesque genius of Louis de Funès continues to seduce and delight.


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Louis de Funès Museum: "We can't deny the laughter of millions of people"

  • Cinema
  • Paris
  • Louis de Funes
  • Exposure
  • Culture