On 31, Jan 2013 | In | By fffdemo
The Man Who Laughs
L’Homme Qui Rit
de Jean-Pierre Améris
From the director of Romantics Anonymous comes a gloriously theatrical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, The Man Who Laughs.
Gwynplaine (Marc-André Grondin) has a scar on his face, giving him a kind of permanent smile. Abandoned by the Comprachicos, who had kidnapped and slashed his face a few years earlier, he is taken in by Ursus (the indomitable Depardieu) together with a beautiful blind girl, Déa (Renoir’s radiant Christa Théret).
They move from village to village, performing a show whose star is the now grown-up Gwynplaine. Everywhere he goes his smile evokes laughter and emotion in the audience that adores him. Life goes on until it is discovered that this scarred man is the heir to a large and noble family. Giddy with this sudden wealth and the carnal passions of a duchess, he distances himself from the only two people who have ever loved him for what he is.
Director Jean-Pierre Améris first saw a mini-series of The Man Who Laughs as a ten-year-old boy, and it instantly became a lifelong dream for him to make a film of that story. “Hugo touches on the personal, the social, and even the metaphysical,” Améris explains, “He was all about duality – hell and heaven, the poor and the rich, the stage and the real world [...] that’s what I love about him.”