“Le Maître d’école” is a beautiful French comedy where Coluche is all tenderness, surrounded by a troupe of colorful children. However, outside the cameras, his life was far from rosy.
The Schoolmaster : how to see education differently
In the early 80’s, Colouche is a superstar. He has just stopped the stage, when he was filling rooms with several thousand people, to devote himself full time to the cinema. To justify this career choice, he used to say, with the corrosive humor that we know him, that “Cinema is a lazy job and it pays off big.“. He has just chained several public successes, Wing or thigh at Inspector the Burrboth signed Claude Zidi, via You will not have Alsace and Lorraine which he staged himself. Claude Berri, at the time, was already an established director and producer having had great success in terms of admissions with The old man and the child, The Boosted Where I love you.
The association of the two men was therefore undoubtedly to shake the French box office. Claude Berri falls on the novel Memoirs of an educator by Jules Celma. The man tells his experience as a substitute teacher who tried a different approach to education. He let his students work and choose their subjects as they pleased. This idea, very advanced for the time, seduced the director who was inspired by it to co-write the screenplay with Celma Teacher in which Coluche will play the main role.
He embodies Gérard Barbier, a clothing salesman fired after defending a child caught stealing a pair of shoes. The man decides on a drastic career change and becomes teacher. Barbier thinks he is strong enough to hold the children who will nevertheless make him drool over them.
The Schoolmaster don’t miss his return and have fun more than 3.4 million spectators in France. However, on the set, everything is far from rosy.
Coluche at worst
The film is a real breath of fresh air for the audience as the association between the rambunctious children and the actor is a treat on screen. Coluche is nice and it shows in this role which brings out this side of his personality. However, as soon as Claude Berri says “Cut!”, the harshness of life catches up with him and he plunges into depression. His false candidacy for the presidency of the country completely gutted him, and, above all, was the final nail in the coffin of his marriage. His wife can’t take the frenetic life that represents the sharing of the daily life of the actor. So she leaves while he spins The Schoolmastertaking with her their two sons Marius and Romain. Plunged into mad distress, the actor sinks into drugs and alcohol.
However, on the set, nothing transpires and Coluche plays his role as a caring but overwhelmed teacher to perfection. He is surrounded by a troupe of actors and happy children with whom he never gets bored. Josiane Balaskoyet scrambled with the actor before filming began, remembersa pleasant moment during which they had a lot of fun. We then discovered here a Coluche all in tenderness, far from the usual clowning and showing real talent as an actor.
Whether The Schoolmaster marks the spirits, it is the second collaboration between Coluche and Claude Berri which will push the actor even further in the drama. For his performance in Tchao Pantinhe will even receive the César for best actor more than deserved.