The Eye of INA: Serge Reggiani, the fabulous destiny of the “little” Italian

The French actor and singer was born on May 2, 1922 in Reggio Emilia, Italy. For its centenary Madelen offers to review the show Point Blank which, in 1970, was entirely devoted to him.

How did Serge Reggiani, son of a modest family of Italians who emigrated to France in 1920 to flee fascism, become a star of cinema and song? One To close range made in 1970 answers this question. Madelen invites you to discover it, or rediscover it, at the time of the hundredth anniversary of his birth on May 2. This resolutely modest man in this documentary recounts in watermarks, and without ever saying too much, a journey that owes a lot to destiny…

Discover here the program “À bout portrant” from 1970 dedicated to Serge Reggiani

It would probably never have started without the anger of a client of the family hairdressing salon in Faubourg Saint-Denis where, the day after his 16th birthday, Serge was hired by his father as an apprentice. “ Change jobs, kid! she exclaims, discovering her messed up style, and part of her hair burned by an incorrectly adjusted iron.

Serge does not need to be told twice. The next day, he enrolled in a comedy class to learn the job he dreamed of exercising since his very young years: actor. The bad student that he was at school then becomes a relentless woodsman. He successfully passed the entrance exam to the Conservatory of Cinematographic Arts, multiplied the figurations on stage and on screen, before managing to win, in 1943, the headliner of the Crossroads of lost children. François Périer, who was to insure it, withdrew at the last minute. Another twist of fate!

The handsome thug of golden helmet

Cataloged as a young first he accumulates the supporting roles of young first, sometimes as a thug. In 1951, he was chosen by Jacques Becker to give, in Golden Helmet, the response to Simone Signoret. A few years later, in 1964 exactly, the latter will be at the origin of a new twist of fate. Invited to dinner at La Roulotte, where she lives with Yves Montand, Reggiani meets Jacques Canetti. During the evening, this artistic director evokes a project dear to his heart: a tribute record to Boris Vian with whom he worked until his death in 1959.

Discovering Reggiani’s admiration for the author of I’ll go spit on your graves, Canetti offers him to record the songs. An enthusiastic agreement is immediately concluded. The album was released the day after 42and birthday of his interpreter. He knows a success of esteem. Barbara, who listened to him and appreciated him, offered Serge the first part of a series of recitals at Bobino. However, it poses a condition: that he take lessons in order to learn to articulate and breathe correctly in front of a microphone. He obeys her and thus familiarizes himself with what he considers to be another way of acting. “A recital is theater, except that there are not five acts, but thirty-twohe says.

His second 33 rpm, which features The wolves have entered Paris, Sarah and The little boy comes out immediately. He entered the hit parade between Johnny, Sylvie and Sheila. An unexpected success that he owes to Georges Moustaki, whom he met one evening at Barbara’s. By chance. Destiny once again…

In more than 50 years of career, Serge Reggiani has shot more than a hundred films. He triumphed on the screen, but also in the theater, in particular with The Sequestered of Altona, which he played 520 times in Paris. He also experienced desert crossings and tax problems that brought him to the brink of ruin. He accepted these difficult times and never complained about them. It was also his destiny.

The anthology of the INA archives devoted to Serge Reggiani


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