Animals, big cats version, Mathieu Sapin has made them a specialty since 2012. Not those of the Vincennes zoo. No, those who fascinate the designer occupy the summits of the State or the cinema. After having followed the candidate Hollande in “Presidential campaign”, then part of his term in “the Castle”, he rubbed shoulders with another type of animal in the aptly named “Gérard, five years in the legs of Depardieu “.
Mathieu Sapin is now delivering a colorful “Comédie française”, which features Emmanuel Macron and Jean Racine. He is also preparing to bite into Depardieu again in an animated series for adults, broadcast at the end of 2021… Interview with an outstanding “zoologist”.
You said you should stop political comics. And here is “French Comedy” behind the scenes of the Macron presidency …
MATHIEU SAPIN. Yes, I dived again! I really wanted to say goodbye to politics. And then there were two unexpected encounters. First with Jean Racine, whom I didn’t know very well. While documenting myself, I realized that the theater was finally for him a stage to become the courtier and the historiographer of Louis XIV. Then with Emmanuel Macron, when I was allowed, to my surprise, to follow the scenes of the 2017 debate with Marine Le Pen. It was too tempting to draw the parallel …
The album opens with the meeting with Macron. It was quite surreal, right?
Totally. He tells me right away that my comic is his bedside book… I think he’s talking about the one on Holland. But no, it was the one on Depardieu. He leaves me with a big wink. Later, he will text me to ask me if I can organize a dinner with Gérard… And then after the debate, I see Macron in his chair, surrounded by all the barons. There was really a king side with his court.
What first impression did he make on you?
I am very amazed by the guy’s personality. He knows how to make you feel like you really matter. I fall under the spell. And I understand better how he managed to draw so many people behind him …
What difference with François Hollande?
Macron is a lot, and always, in seduction. Sometimes in brutality too. But I think it comes from his youth. François Hollande is more rounded but I think there was a problem of clarity in his policy. You know, people think the president is the man who knows everything. I believe, from experience, that they do above all what they can … But with the obligation to constantly give the impression that they master.
Did the parallel between the time of Louis XIV and the current presidency seem obvious to you?
It’s a funny provocation. Frankly, Macron lent himself to it by using the terms “Jupiterian” and “New World” which date from the time of Louis XIV. But there are limits. Contrary to what I sometimes hear, we are not in a dictatorship …
In your albums, you adopt the position of the candid …
I’m a bit ironic too. But it’s true that a part of naivety is part of the comic book character that I have become over the albums. When I’m in this little political theater, I often feel like I’m watching a series on TV. However, I am still sincere: I am really surprised that all its doors have opened in front of me.
Speaking of doors that open, obviously having Depardieu’s number helps…
Yeah, that’s funny. This book might not exist without Depardieu: Emmanuel Macron absolutely wanted to have dinner with him and asked me on several occasions to organize this. I think this illustrates the relationship between politics and artists. Power always dreams of approaching them. Perhaps because politicians are envious of their freedom.
You are going to make Gérard Depardieu the hero of an animated series. Did you keep good relations?
Yes, very good. We call each other from time to time and I saw him again recently.
Did you come up with the idea for this cartoon?
No. He is the producer of Toon Factory, with whom I work for “the Sardines of space” (Editor’s note: a comic book adapted in series), who met Gérard and they imagined it together. He really likes the idea because it’s something he’s never done. And it is he who will make his voice. These will be scenes from Depardieu’s life over 3 minutes in 52 episodes. Something in the spirit of comics, but it’s not an adaptation. We want to approach new facets of the character and undoubtedly go into more poetic things. But the idea remains to show it as it is and as people like it, with this raw side of stripping. So, even if I have a lot of notes left, I will have to start following him again as he moves. It’s very exciting.
“French Comedy”: we applaud!
“And Gérard then, when do we call him?” “Without knowing it, Emmanuel Macron, obsessed with the idea that Mathieu Sapin is organizing a dinner for him with the actor, served the designer with a hilarious running gag on a set… But this is not the only occasion to laugh or smile of “French Comedy”, a new album devoted to the small world of politics by the author of “Presidential Campaign”.
This time, Mathieu Sapin intersects the anecdotes behind the scenes of the Macron presidency with that of the fate of Jean Racine, devoured by the ambition to approach the Sun King. The process, which questions the author himself on his intentions, works wonderfully. But let’s face it: nothing is more delectable here than following the designer at the Elysee Palace, in presidential trips or … in the kitchen of François Hollande.
With irony but without malice, with an air of “not touching it” but also a real talent as a narrator, Mathieu Sapin sheds more light on these men who govern us than many editorial writers. And proves, to paraphrase Clemenceau, that politics is too serious a matter to be left to politicians …
EDITOR’S RATING: 4/5
“French comedy”, by Mathieu Sapin. Ed. Dargaud. 168 pages. 22.50 euros.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr