His play “Un Chalet à Gstaad” awaits in Carcassonne on April 9, his dreams with Splendid, his career, his daughter Marilou Berry. Interview with one of the most popular personalities of the French.
In your new play Un chalet à Gstaad you make fun of tax exiles, how did this topic come about?
I wanted a gallery of freaks, tax evasion is always in the news and hyper-rich people are rarely represented in entertainment theatre. I wanted to tell the story of people finding themselves in a golden tax exile.
They are all very well behaved people, but they are not afraid of anything and for one evening everything will fall apart.
Does laughter serve as an outlet in times of growing inequality?
Yes, I think it’s a liberating laugh. These guys “fart”, they have absolutely no idea about the reality of everyday life, they think that the minimum wage is 5000-6000€… They are obnoxious, treat their employees like “shit” and it’s quite cheering to see it all it will fall on them.
And there is an important character, a young girl who represents the vision of ordinary people, those who have problems at the end of the month, they will take revenge.
“Theatre is fun,” explains Josiane Balasko, who is expected in Carcassonne and Albi with “Un Chalet à Gstaad”.
Written, directed and performed by Josiane Balasko, Un Chatet à Gstaad embarks on a major tour of France before returning to the Théâtre des Nouveaux in Paris in September. She will kick April 6th at the Grand Théâtre d’Albi and April 9th at the Jean-Alary Theater in Carcassonne (online ticket office) with its gruesome satire of the wealthy in exile under an unassuming sky, a theme carried by a glittering cast: Armelle, Philippe Uchan, Stéphan Wojtowicz, Justine LePottier and George Aguilar, in sets designed by designed by the talented Stefanie Jar. “We’re happy to play such extreme characters and we have a lot of fun,” says Josiane Balasko, it really reminds me of when we played Splendid together. with an audience that responds.”
“In the cinema, she continues, there is frustration, when the film comes out it’s already finished, you’re happy when it’s running, but you’ve already made some progress. In the theater it’s immediate. In the evenings we do our job, we are rewarded with laughter, it is something pleasant.”
You come from a humble background, as a child you knew the maid’s room with water on the landing. Does this experience sometimes permeate your decisions, does it bring some form of perspective?
We weren’t wealthy people, but I never went hungry or because my parents didn’t have any money. We lived in the 19th arrondissement, there was a mix of social classes that doesn’t exist anymore. Today destitute people live in the suburbs.
It’s good to know multiple social backgrounds. I also lived in a small bistro as a kid and that helped me to write popular characters like in “Nuit d’ivresse” there too.
You’re coming back here to your first love, you started your career writing at 22…
Yes, in those days there were cafe-theatres almost everywhere, and it was quite easy for young actors to play if you wrote skits. On the public side it was sometimes a bit more difficult, but little by little we managed to play shows. After that, I got to know Splendid very quickly and we started working as a team there.
This group, what does it represent for you today?
The family, the youth. We’re still in touch, not necessarily physically, but when we call each other when we meet, nothing has changed. We’re friends for life, like we said in Les Bronzés 3 (laughs).
With the desire to work together again?
We all want to get together more or less, then we have to know why, it’s not easy. But it’s true that we were delighted to be reunited for Les Bronzés 3. On the first day of shooting in Sardinia we were like children, it was jubilant, especially since we have evolved, we are calmer and have less to prove, we know who we are.
Will there be a Bronze 4?
I don’t know, I’d like to, but at the moment I haven’t heard anything about it, maybe my comrades are working on it, I hope, by all means …
How do you analyze your connection with the French?
We are maybe a little part of the family album, it started more than forty years ago with these films that little by little invade the imagination and that come back regularly, everyone has seen the bronzés less than once, voluntarily or forced… The people can’t escape it (laughs).
Born on April 15, 1950 in Paris, Josiane Balasko, popularized by her colorful roles with the Splendid troupe, where she replaced Valérie Mairesse in 1976, Josiane Balasko multiplies the successes (25 films with more than a million cinema spectators) and is one of France’s most popular personalities (6th in the latest JDD ranking of the French’s favorite women). Screenwriter and dialogue writer Josiane Balasko has also directed several notable films including Gazon Maudit and Cliente. She is married to American actor George Aguilar (seen in Baghdad Café) and has two children, a daughter, Marilou Berry, from a previous relationship with sculptor Philippe Berry (who died in 2019), brother of Richard Berry , and an adopted son, Rudy Berry.
You already have a hundred films behind you, 50 years of career, what inspires you in this career?
It’s awful to think that (laughs) I don’t spend my time looking back, I’ve been working and here we go… I’m glad to have met people who have given me interesting roles. And what we all did at Splendid was we texted each other when the directors didn’t offer us a role… I hope it stays that way for a long time, but it’s also a matter of fishing!
You’ve made several films that have been both critically acclaimed and successful, will we see you behind the camera again?
I’m good at my role as an actress, I’m turning 72 and I still have fun, interesting characters. I’m fortunate to have suggestions and I hope to get more suggestions for very different styles and families of filmmakers. Directing is not my priority at the moment because it takes a lot of time and energy when I have to perform at other people’s houses or write plays.
Her artistic path sometimes crosses that of her daughter Marilou Berry. She told us how she got into this profession as a teenager. You remember ?
Yes, she was 16, she already had a mother in the business and an uncle, Richard Berry. I’ve never forbidden him to do it, but we’re always a bit scared that his kids won’t necessarily go the way that suits them, we often put up barriers, especially when we’re already in business. She went to a school that did both general education and drama and when I saw what she did I was reassured to see that she wasn’t planted on her choice, I said to myself, “She’s got it in her stomach.” . I admire his talent, his energy. I am very proud of my daughter, she is an excellent actress, director. I’m blown away.
Quinquennium Macron: “We can’t throw stones at them”
His beliefs. Josiane Balasko, who has long been a passionate advocate for social issues, the right to housing, defending undocumented migrants, but also the environment, believes that the expiring five-year term will set things in the right direction changed direction? “I don’t know, because that five-year term was riddled with disasters,” she comments. I’m not even talking about the early days marked by the ‘yellow vests’, it was chaos when those people were beaten up.”
“The Covid then changed the situation and distorted things, she continues, we found ourselves locked in and whatever the decisions the government made, they got it wrong at the beginning, they lied to us about the masks , I think were in a situation where they were like, “What can we do?” We can’t throw stones at them because it was extremely complicated.”
The actress, supporter of François Hollande (PS) in 2012 – who will be a dashed hope for her – of the PCF in the 2017 general election and the 2019 European elections, does not want to take a position on the time when the French on Sunday go to the first round of the be called to the polls in the presidential election.
Ukraine, War and Refugees. Like many others, Josiane Balasko is particularly affected by the development of the situation in Ukraine. “We all think of these people who are under the bombs. It’s terrible because we see that we can’t do anything concrete, she laments. No one wants bombs on the head from Vladimir Putin and apart from coercive measures take arms supplies, economic sanctions, humanitarian aid, we don’t know what we can do.”
“We also think of all these peoples on the way to exile, she continues, I don’t think they’re gone six months. We must help them. We also have to help the countries that are hosting all these refugees.”