POSTED ON OCTOBER 15, 2017
Eddy Mitchell is not only an elegant crooner with a velvety-smooth voice, a passionate cinephile, an ardent fan of rock, the USA and Westerns (due to the genre’s “whole” heroes who have “nothing to hide”), he is moreover an excellent actor, introduced to audiences by Bertrand Tavernier in Coup de torchon. Eddy Mitchell honored us with his presence at the opening ceremony of the 9th edition of the Lumière festival.
"At age 13," remembers actor Guy Marchand, “Claude Moine (aka Eddy Mitchell) and I used to go to the movies at the Danube palace and sit in the front row. We dreamt of being on the screen.” For sixteen years, from 1982 to 1998 on France 3, he hosted the cult TV program, La Dernière Séance (The Last Show), an allusion to one of his biggest musical hits. Mitchell shared his love for American classic movies on the program, and for little local neighborhood theaters, double features or news reels. Generous-spirited, erudite and enthusiastic, he defended film noirs and westerns, the latter a genre where "there is vast space." He reasoned, "We don’t run the risk of bumping into people in westerns.” Mitchell also put the prime-time spotlight on the likes of André De Toth, Gordon Douglas or Jules Dassin, filmmakers little-known to French audiences.
With Les Chaussettes Noires (The Black Socks), the first major French rock band, he made the 60s pop generation swing (as did his partner-in-crime, fellow rock star Johnny Hallyday) before going on to a solo career. Mitchell insists, however, that he is "not a real crooner because, for me, the only true crooner is Dean Martin.” Thinking of Eddy, it is impossible not to start humming tunes he wrote: Pas de Boogie Woogie, Couleur menthe à l’eau, Le Cimetière des éléphants, Il ne rentre pas ce soir... unforgettable melodies and texts full of subtle melancholy.
On-screen, the former kid from Belleville plays a charming, jovial and irreverent bon vivant in Happiness is In the Field by Étienne Chatiliez, which earns Mitchell a César for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1995. "Behind his image as a grumbler, a gruff guy, Eddy Mitchell has a huge heart and true acting intelligence. Remember that he is a singer and an author who writes the lyrics of his own songs. Furthermore, he quickly understands the lines of a script and brings them to life wonderfully," declares the director, who has chosen Mitchell frequently as an actor. Naturally gifted for comedy with his consummate art of mocking undertones, Eddy Mitchell has also filmed with Jean-Pierre Mocky (Kill the Referee), Jacques Bral (A Winter in Paris), Claude Lelouch (We Love You, You Bastard) and Marco Ferreri (I Love You)... And according to Philippe Noiret, on the set of Bertrand Tavernier's Coup de torchon, where he got his start in 1981, Eddy Mitchell plays the moron of morons and nurses his "blue funk" with "Jeannot le Marcheur," Johnny Walker whiskey.
He is currently shooting the first film by Christophe Duthuron, an adaptation of the successful comic, Les Vieux fourneaux, with Pierre Richard and Alice Pol. Mitchell, an admirer of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, was recently on stage with Johnny Hallyday and Jacques Dutronc for the Les Vieilles Canailles tour. To the delight of Lumière audiences, he came to launch the festival yesterday evening and will introduce a screening of Coup de torchon this Sunday, an event not to be missed.
A conversation with Eddy Mitchell
Sunday, October 15 at the Pathé Bellecour at 11:15am
Coup de torchon
Sunday, October 15 at the Pathé Bellecour at 5:30pm