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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Molière II


« Vivre sans aimer n’est pas proprement vivre »

To live without loving is to not really live


Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (Molière) was born in Paris on January 15, 1622. 
His father was one of eight valets de chambre tapissiers who tended the king's furniture and upholstery, so the young Poquelin received every advantage a boy could wish for. He was educated at the finest schools (the College de Clermont in Paris.) He had access to the king's court. 
But even as a child, Molière found it infinitely more pleasant to poke fun at the aristocracy than to associate with them. As a young boy, he learned that he could cause quite a stir by mimicking his mother's priest. His mother, a deeply religious woman, might have broken the young satirist of this habit had she not died before he was yet twelve-years-old.
The first of Molière's plays to be presented at the Petit Bourbon was Les Précieuses Ridicules or The Pretentious Ladies which satirized Madame de Rambouillet, a member of the King's court who had set herself up as the final judge of taste and culture in Paris. 

The play proved so successful that Molière doubled the price of admission and was invited to give a special performance for the King.
The King was delighted and rewarded the playwright with a large gift of cash, but Molière had made powerful enemies of some of the King's followers.
Madame de Rambouillet and her coterie managed to have performances of the play suspended for fourteen days and, in an attempt to drive Molière from the city, eventually managed to have the Petit Bourbon closed down completely.
But the King immediately granted Molière use of the Théâtre du Palais Royal where he would continue to perform for the rest of his life.

Over the course of the next thirteen years, Molière worked feverishly to make his company the most respected dramatic troupe in Paris. (Eventually, they were awarded the coveted title "Troupe of the King.") He directed his own plays and often played the leading role himself.
On February 17, 1673, Molière suffered a hemorrhage while playing the role of the hypochondriac Argan in The Imaginary Invalid. He had insisted on going through with the performance in spite of the advice of his wife and friends saying, "There are fifty poor workers who have only their daily wage to live on. What will become of them if the performance does not take place?" 

He passed away later that night at his home on the Rue Richelieu. The local priests refused to take his confession, for actors had no social standing and had been excommunicated by the church. Nor would they permit him to be buried in holy ground. 

Four days later, the King interceded and Molière was finally buried in the Cemetery Saint Joseph under the cover of darkness.

Molière left behind a body of work which not only changed the face of French classical comedy, but has gone on to influence the work of other dramatists the world over.
The greatest of his plays include The School for Husbands (1661), The School for Wives (1662), The Misanthrope (1666), The Doctor in Spite of Himself (1666), Tartuffe (1664,1667,1669), The Miser (1668), and The Imaginary Invalid (1673).
Molière (2007)
Un film de Laurent Tirard avec Romain Duris, Fabrice Luchini, Laura Morante, Edouard Baer, Ludivine Sagnier et Fanny Valette, France, 2006, 120 min. 

Laurent Tirard, le co-scénariste et réalisateur explique : 

« Il nous fallait orchestrer une rencontre imaginaire entre l’auteur et son oeuvre. Ce film devait avoir l’esprit des pièces de Molière et en même temps, refléter notre point de vue sur lui ».

Les Français maîtrisent la science du film d’époque avec une facilité déconcertante. Molière ne fait pas exception. Décors, costumes et dialogues concordent à donner au film un air d’authenticité. Toutefois, une déception guette les amateurs de biographies historiques.
Molière, comme c’était le cas avec Shakespeare in Love, est avant tout une fiction sur fond historique.

The Language of Love
The Love of Language?

Letter Scene
Romain Duris as Moliere and Laura Morante as Elmire in a scene from the movie Moliere.
"Mr. Tartuffe" "delivering" a letter from Elmire's secret admirer.

Mirror Scene

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