Depardieu: The Actor, The Economic Crisis and the Russian


Actor Gérard Depardieu – most recently seen in Ang Lee’s excellent cinematic adaptation of Yann Martell’s book “Life of Pi” as a slob-like ships’s cook – is due in court next Tuesday in Paris to face charges of drunk-driving.

Depardieu is very reluctant to appear before the law, however. The self-declared tax exile was recently presented to the Russian public as a new star Russian citizen, following a surprise decree on January 3rd.

Back in October, the French actor joked that he had already packed his bags “the day after the (French presidential) elections were decided” and it was a clear that a socialist regime intent on exacting taxes on the super-rich would soon be in power.

President Hollande made good on his pre-election promise of imposing a 75% tax rate on annual earnings over €1 million. Although the law has been declared “unconstitutional” by the French Constitutional Council, Depardieu had already de-camped across the border into Belgium. He pointed out that he was already living half the year abroad in any case. Moreover, he said, he could count on at least three countries that would welcome him: Belgium, Montenegro (where he has friends and does business) and Russia.

At the time of his departure from the locale in Paris that was his home for a number of years, Depardieu promised that he would return regularly to “party” and joked that “Putin has already sent me a passport!” Those words said in jest turned out to be self-fulfilling prophesy when the Russian president simply couldn’t resist the temptation to grant the Frenchman (who is a very popular figure in Russia) full citizenship.

But back in France, the chain of events has provoked a lot of soul-searching amongst the cinematic community. French cinema is in a very healthy state and is supported by a heavily-subsidised system that keeps artists in work and ensures that the country turns out a huge output of high-quality films every year. It is one of the very few countries in Europe that manages to out-box-office American imports with their own films some years.

"... dirty cash, of dictator pals, of heavy farts, of mid-air urinations... " Actor Philippe Torreton.

“… dirty cash, of dictator pals, of heavy farts, of mid-air urinations… ” Actor Philippe Torreton.

Some actors have reacted with disappointment to Depardieu’s behaviour and regard it as an act of betrayal while others have questioned the logic of the 75% tax rate. A-list actor Philippe Torreton (to be seen later this year in Michel Gondry’s highly-anticipated “L’Ecume des Jours”) has struck out against his fellow-actor. In an open letter, the César-winning actor asks rhetorically “So, Gérard.. did you think that we’d approve of all this?” in reference to Depardieu’s appeal to the French president and tax authorities not to proceed with the historically high tax rate. “The problem with your little off-road ventures,” continues Torreton, “is that they always end up in the same ditch – the one of ‘me, me, me!’; the one of dirty cash, of dictator pals, of heavy farts, of mid-air urinations and ultra-liberal outbursts.”

Meanwhile, Depardieu’s legal representative Éric de Caumont is expected to submit a “guilty” plea to the charges levelled against his 64-year-old client of driving under the influence in the hope that it won’t involved a journey to France. The lawyer said that he was unsure as to whether or not “professional obligations” would allow his client to attend the hearing on Tuesday next but that he would appear on his behalf in any case.

Third-party content not available.
To activate the content, please click "Accept" on the banner at the top of this page. Please first read our Privacy Policy to learn more about such third-party content

2 Replies to “Depardieu: The Actor, The Economic Crisis and the Russian”

  1. John Geaney says:

    Interesting – in my view, he’s a bit of a traitor, albeit an amusing one. Would love to go for a pint with him but maybe not trust him in a flat-share situation.

  2. Henry Wall says:

    Well done, Gerard. A man with the right attitude. The French can’t keep their subsidising system going forever. They need to catch up with reality and have a more liberal system. I lived there for years and loved everything about it – except the taxes. Too high.

Comments are closed.

scroll to top

We use cookies on this website primarily to improve its functionality. Along with typical standard cookies, we also use cookies and content from Google (maps, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter) to improve the performance of this site. In order to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Requirements, all cookies and content from Google, Twitter, Facebook and co. are deactivated by default. They will only be activated once you click "Accept" to allow the use of cookies and third-party content. If you initially choose not to accept cookies, you will not be able to watch videos or access other media content on this site. However, you can change this setting on any page containing third-party media by selecting the option to allow content. On the Privacy Policy page under “Cookies” you have the option to give or revoke your consent to the use of cookies. For more information please click the link below to read our: Privacy Policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.