French musical icons don’t come any bigger than Claude François. The popular singer enjoyed a huge following during a musical career that spanned almost 20 years before his untimely death in 1978 at the age of 39.
A biographical film about his life has just been released across France. Given the fame of the subject matter and the millions of devoted fans still out there, it was always going to be a commercial success, but even the film’s producers could not have foreseen quite how big it was going to be.
After one week on show across the country, the film has already crossed the one-million mark for the number of viewers, proving that the allure of Claude François (or “Cloclo” as he was affectionately known) is still strong 34 years after his death.
Despite the length of the film (2h28), there’s no sign yet of it running out of steam. Critics are hailing the handling in a somewhat dark manner of the story of François as well as the central performance of Belgian actor Jérémie Renier. Renier’s square-jawed looks are eerily similar to those of the deceased dance king. The talented Brussels man is best known for playing the main role of Bruno in “L’Enfant (The Child)” – the superb low-budget film from the Dardenne brothers that came away from Cannes with the Palme d’Or in 2005. He also played more minor roles in “Atonement” and “In Bruges”.
For those who’d like to familiarise themselves more with the work of Claude François, check out this trailer with Renier singing “Comme d’Habitude” – the original “My Way”.