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Star-Gazing: Fabrice Luchini

Fabrice Luchini, Rue de la Gaite
Photo by Chris Card Fuller ©2007

When it comes to Hollywood stars, I might as well be blind. It would be easy for me to bump into Mat Damon or Brad Pitt – and never know it – but for some reason, Fabrice Luchini, who may not be so well known to American movie-goers (unless you’ve seen the film Beaumarchais). is an actor that I recognize toute suite.

(One of the reasons why French movie stars and singers love to come to the US is for that
much appreciated commodity – anonymity. Johnny Holiday can do his grocery shopping in Beverly Hills and Gerard Depardieu can walk through Central Park without the slightest worry for unwanted attention.)

Catherine Deneuve may be one of the last of the French ‘stars’ to be instantly recognized (even in outdoor markets like the Marche aux Puces at Vanves).

Meanwhile, I don’t have any trouble recognizing Fabrice Luchini – maybe it’s because he has almost become a fixture in the Gaite neighborhood.

Last night his one man show “Le Point Sur Robert” opened at Gaite Montparnasse Theater, 26, rue de la Gaite.
Metro: Gaite. This celebrates his return to the theater where he performed works from Celine several years ago. Even though he has not been here for a few years, he has hardly changed – in fact, if anything he looks younger. Is reading the secret to perpetual youth?

Voila an actor who loves writers – somewhat different from the Hollywood scene, for sure.

When no books remain on this Earth – or when we forget how to read altogether, at least there’ll be a few actors left on the planet to quote from the likes of Roland Barthes, Valery, and Moliere.

In a recent interview with Pariscope magazine, Fabrice Luchini admitted that his first name ‘Fabrice’ was, in effect, an invention of his hair stylist. He was born ‘Robert’ which is the reason that this most recent ‘one man narrative’ is entitled “Le Point sur Robert”

He goes on to mention that ‘Robert’ (according) to this hairstylist was a name that was supposedly a ‘low class’ name. This is a shock to those of us of Anglo stock. Robert is a fine name. I beg to disagree with the hairstylist, but nevertheless, Fabrice was born in this fashion.

Whether his name is Fabrice or Robert, Luchini remains one of France’s most talented actors (in my very humble opinion) and for an ‘American in Paris’ he is amazingly accessible – if you take the time to read up on your French authors.

And even if you aren’t quite ready to take on the French language to this degree, you might stumble upon Fabrice Luchini in a local cafe where he kindly poses for a passing tourist’s photo.