The chronicle of Michel Winock: Fabrice Luchini the Enchanter

At the age of seventy, endowed with perfect diction, a fine theatrical sense, a knowledge of the most varied texts, he is not satisfied with reading them, he recites long fragments by heart, digressions, comments, extravagates, challenges the audience, addresses latecomers whom he comforts with his understanding, the capital having become a battlefield, and declares to them straight out: “I’m going to sum you up. “He has stage stuff like that. He invented an auditor, whom he calls Robert (that’s his real first name), married to “a warrior” of culture, who “does” three exhibitions a week, and whom he follows in resigned silence. . “He’s lost, Robert!” From time to time, he speaks to him, encourages him, lights his flickering lantern.

These tips allow the public to breathe between two more or less arid readings. That evening, the choice of authors stems from a flourishing eclecticism. On the money, it makes speak writers as varied as possible, one is amazed. “ L’Argent”, Zola’s novel, is essential : the speculations of Busch, a great bird of prey who monitors bankruptcies, haunts notary offices, attends auctions, buys back at ten cents to resell later at a hundred francs, a whole art in the hunt for debtors.

And here is Luchini talking to us…. from whom? From Karl Marx! Unbelievable ! He warns us, it is not the Marxist Marx, it is the philosopher of the “Recovered Manuscripts” of 1844, and you will see! In this text, Marx describes the prodigious force of money which transforms the being of its possessor. The future author of “Capital” quoted Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens: “This yellow slave [l’or] will weave and break vows, bless the accursed, cause livid leprosy to be adored, place thieves, granting them title, homage and praise, on the bench of senators; it is he who decides the grieving widow to remarry. The one that a hospital for hideous ulcers would vomit up in disgust, gold embellishes it, perfumes it, and gives it a new April…” Luchini is delighted, repeats this sentence greedily, rolling his eyes: “A new April … »

He goes back and forth between a small table, an armchair and a coat rack, sits down for a moment, reads in a notebook then leaves it, evokes Louis Jouvet or Michel Bouquet, his great admirations which he likes to imitate, awakens Monsieur Robert threatened with torpor… Here he is talking about Cioran, the Romanian who has become a great French moralist, the sarcastic author of “The Inconvenience of Being Born”. Here he is talking about Charles Péguy and reading the famous passages from “L’Argent” where the founder of the “Cahiers de la Quinzaine” praises teachers.


The actor Fabrice Luchini, a permanent show.

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

Even if this text by Péguy somewhat smacks of the myth of “it was better before”, Luchini brings out all the beauty, all the humanity of these pages where the former socialist who has become a Catholic praises both teachers and priests: “Our old masters taught us the same thing as the priests. And the priests taught us the same thing as them. All their metaphysical contrarieties were nothing compared to this deep community that they were of the same race, of the same time, of the same France, of the same regime. From the same discipline. From the same world. What the priests said, basically the teachers said too. What the teachers said, basically the priests said too. »

Fabrice Luchini, comedian, film actor, has established himself as the great smuggler of our time. The former hairdresser, armed with the only school certificate, has become the most literate autodidact we know. The main role he assumes is to make known the writers he has discovered, by building a bridge through his dazzling talent between his love of literature and the digital generations. In his own way, he was one of the black hussars celebrated by Péguy; he is our national teacher. He made a phrase from Nietzsche his motto: “try to harm stupidity”.

The chronicle of Michel Winock: Fabrice Luchini the Enchanter