Viewers of my generation watched the movies as children and remember the credits of the Gaumont, the pajamas and the school that started again the next day. When they return to their films, they find that protective and regressive nest, with a laugh that they can now share with their children.
To create his character, De Funes was inspired by his own biography. Born in 1914 as Louis Germain David de Funes de Galarza y Soto, the actor was descended, on his father’s side, from a family of lesser Sevillian nobles.
Her mother, Leonor Soto Reguera, was the daughter of a notary from Ortigueira (A Coruña), where she met her father, a jewelry representative who ended in ruin. Their relationship, frowned upon by their families, made them emigrate to France.
“He was totally Spanish and, at the same time, the most French of the French, a symbol of perfect integration,” says Kruger (although it could also be called brutal assimilation). De Funès did not reach success until he was 50, with El my wife’s chicken(1963).
Until then, he had lived poorly working as a pianist in bars and playing tiny roles in the cinema. “It took him so long to get ahead … His character is a study of human nature in its most disgusting aspect, because it is what he lived in his daily life,” says actress Demongeot with whom she shared the poster often in the recently released documentary.
De Funès now receives critical recognition that he never received before he died in 1983 . Even so, in his day he received praise from François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard or Roman Polanski, who saw in his films the most grotesque reverse of the human soul and with whom he once had lunch to study the possibility of working together, which never happened.
The renewal of French cinema ended up leaving a man puzzled by the cultural change of May ’68, who failed to renew his cinema. That doesn’t mean I didn’t try. The crazy adventures of Rabbi Jacob(1973) was an attempt to bring his comedies closer to the political climate of the seventies, in the midst of the oil crisis a film that evokes a reconciliation between Jews and Arabs, which today is inevitably racist and misogynistic, despite inspiring so many of those French comedies with happy end that today are released in Spain.
O Fallen on a Tree (1971), a strange farce in which an industrialist is caught colliding with a tree with a couple of hippies(Among them, Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of one of her idols). The whole story takes place inside the car, “like a Beckett work in a utility vehicle”, according to its director, Serge Kober, close to the Nouvelle Vague, who has assured that De Funès “felt real frustration at not having the recognition of the intelligentsia ”. He is late, but he has arrived.