How is the essence of one who is used to pretending portrayed? How do you extract the naturalness of the most sophisticated people? How do you get the gift that covers the most beautiful packaging? The photographer Luc roux He has been photographing the stars of French cinema for 40 years, with one goal: to show them as they are. Sometimes fragile people, others robust, angry or tender, much more than the mask behind which they hide. Roux, who was the main photographer for the magazines Premiere and Studio Magazine, which he founded in 1987 together with Jean-Pierre Lavoignat, has portrayed all the figures of French cinema in recent decades, from Catherine Deneuve to Jean-Paul Belmondo, through Charlotte Gaingsbourg or Isabelle Huppert. Many of these portraits, as well as photographs of shootings, are now exhibited for the first time in Spain in Le cinéma au coeur an exhibition organized by the French Alliance of Malaga, which this Friday also inaugurates the 27th edition of the French Film Festival.
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The exhibition, inaugurated this Wednesday, works as a perfect “who’s who” of French cinema. It is difficult to find a recognized interpreter from the French country who has not passed in front of Roux’s objective, who is wearing something very gala: he has never asked anyone to smile for the photo. “Never. I don’t make them pose or tell them to smile. ” Perhaps this is the only way to explain how it has been able to extract the authenticity of so many stars. Some, like Emmanuelle Beart, burst out laughing in front of the lens; others, like Gerard Depardieu, close their eyes by the pool after a tiring day of promotion at Cannes; the fabulous trio Noiret-Rochefort-Marielle seems to have a joke.
“The relationship with the actors is relaxed and trusting, especially with the actresses. I spend a lot of time with them. We have a coffee, we talk… And when we find the perfect light and we are confident, I take the photos ”, explains the photographer, who has come to Malaga together with Lavoignat, curator of the exhibition. In this way, new scenes emerge. Beart, very young, laughs because she has been warned that her skirt has risen so much that she hints at her underwear. Marion Cotillard tugs on the rope as she lights the cigarette of the hanged Guillaume Canet, then a stranger and then her husband. Phillipe Noiret walks his water dog, while observing the photographer with that deep and tired look that defines him. Roux spent three days at her cottage in Midi before taking the photo.
Catherine Deneuve: the best photos can come by chance
Studio Magazine and Premiere they revolutionized cinematographic information in the 80s. Until well into the 2000s, they became the main influence of other European film magazines, thanks, in large part, to their careful commitment to the image of interpreters, and a sensitive and benevolent treatment of stars, which allowed them to achieve great complicity and intimacy with them.
Sometimes it was Roux’s turn to portray those she admired. Fanny Ardant was a huge fan. She agreed to be photographed at Cannes, on one condition: she must not be recognized. The result is a romantic photograph, full of mystery, taken in a dark port dock. “He loved the result.”
In the presentation to the media, the photographer and Lavoignat gave some other clue. For example, that the best photo may come at the last minute. This is the only way to explain that the fantastic portrait of Catherine Deneuve that illustrates the exhibition poster was taken in a hotel lobby minutes before taking a flight, after spending the whole day with her. Only then did they remember that they were together to complete a photoshoot for a special issue of Studio Magazine in homage to French cinema. “It was done very quickly, with natural light and without touch-ups,” recalls Lavoignat. Years later, Roux and Lavoignat discovered that this photo, cut out of the magazine, presided over Yves Saint-Laurent’s desk.
Anything seemed fine to Deneuve. Monica Bellucci also blindly trusted the photographer. Others, like Isabelle Huppert or Isabelle Adjani, are more selective and carefully reviewed the photos. Today, the stars manage their image through agents and the promotion of their own brands on social networks. “Networks change everything. A magazine like Studio could not have the impact today that it did then. Communication today has more agents, but is less valuable. That’s the way things are ”, assumes Lavoignat resigned.
In any case, Roux continues to work naturally, without touch-ups. Not a single one of his photos has gone through Photoshop. “It is a phenomenon that has worsened over time and makes it less natural,” he says.
Belmondo at the 27th Malaga French Film Festival
Lavoignat says that it has been difficult to choose some thirty photos from all those that Roux took and published in 40 years of career. Among all of them, that of Jean-Paul Belmondo also stands out. The iconic performer of At the end of the getaway appears moments before boarding a plane that was supposed to take him from one point to another in Africa, in the filming of Itinerary of a spoiled child. The photography reinforces the image of Belmondo as an adventurous and seductive rogue.
Precisely Belmondo, who died in September, will be honored at the 27th edition of the Malaga French Film Festival, with the screening of the mythical Pierrot le fou (Jean Luc Godard, 1965) and the noir Les doulos (Jean-Pierre Meliville, 1962).
From October 15 to 22, twelve films will compete in the official section, including Aline, a fiction inspired by the life of Céline Dion. Aline It was filmed largely in the province of Malaga, in locations such as La Zagaleta (Benahavís), Plaza del Obispo, the Gran Hotel Miramar or the Casino de Torrequebrada. Already premiered in Cannes, it arrives in Malaga two years after filming, pandemic through. The organizers say that the festival is also a way of thinking about a “more colorful, diverse and hopeful future” through French cinema and its stars.