Friday, September 10, 2004
Gerard Depardieu: A St. Augustine Look-alike?
I just discovered this news item
in a collection of online articles on St. Augustine:
Pope John Paul II's remark to French actor Gerard Depardieu two years ago two years ago that he looked like St. Augustine has inspired him to work on plans for a film on St. Augustine. He told a press conference in Rome on Thursday that he has already discussed the project with Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. Depardieu said he is also soon to begin, at the Pope's request, a world tour reciting passages from St Augustine in squares and churches.
I saw Depardieu in a very unfortunate 2001 French film entitled 'The Closet'
a few months back, in which the famous Frenchman plays a gruff and bumbling rugby player who, by the end of the film, is reduced to a squeamish, effeminate homosexual. Depardieu has also, throughout his career, been well-known for his escapades into the immoral, which is why this story is so fascinating. This article is over two years old. I do recall scanning it in the news some time ago, but I never did find out how it played out. I did some scanning of more recent news articles, and found this one
from last February:
This afternoon [Depardieu] will stand before the congregation at Notre Dame Cathedral and confess how the 'sublime' writings of St Augustine have shown him the road to his personal salvation . . . Speaking after the funeral, Depardieu said he met Pope John Paul II in 2000. 'He looked at me and told the cardinals around him: "You must talk to him about St Augustine",' Depardieu said. 'I had to admit that I knew nothing about him' . . . 'I have a mystical, religious temperament, coloured by a persistent temptation to ask: Why? In Augustine, I have rediscovered these questions, the quest for truth - the why of what we are.'
It was also indicated in the previous article that the film, although initiated by Depardieu, never made it off the ground. The most recent article
I found, however, from last December, still found Depardieu preaching the Gospel of St. Augustine:
Last Sunday, the swashbuckling French actor ascended the pulpit of Notre Dame to launch his campaign to remind his countrymen about the greatest African bishop. While Mr Depardieu has no plans to follow the Pope's advice to make a film about his patron saint, he is convinced that others, too, have much to learn from St Augustine.
I love the image of the Pope pointing at a famous actor, one of the most famous in all of France, and informing him that he's the mirror image of St. Augustine (especially given that we have no idea what St. Augustine looked like, except that he probably looked very little like a Frenchman). But God works in mysterious ways.
# posted by Jamie : 2:42 PM