“L’Étudiante et monsieur Henri” is one of the last films of the great Claude Brasseur. A project to which the actor was attached, in particular because he discovered an important common point with the character he plays.
The Student and Monsieur Henri : a unique roommate
Adaptation of the eponymous play by Ivan Calbérac (The tasting), The Student and Monsieur Henri tells the story of the birth of an unexpected friendship. While looking for accommodation in Paris, Constance (Noémie Schmidt) moves into a room in the apartment of Henri (Claude Brasseur), an old widower who can no longer live alone.
In addition to the difficulties of everyday life and her family problems, the young woman now has to face the grumpy character and the incessant remarks of her new roommate. One day, Henri makes her an offer: to exempt her from several months’ rent if she agrees to ruin the couple formed by his son Paul (Guillaume de Tonquedec) and her daughter-in-law Valerie (Frédérique Bel), which he does not support.
Constance reluctantly accepts and succeeds in her mission. She then gets to know the old man better, who splits the armor and tries to convince her to follow her passion, encouraging her to enter a competition for a London music school. Thomas Solivérès, Valérie Kéruzoré and Stéphan Wojtowicz complete the cast of this dramatic comedy about reconciliation, family pressurethe regrets and the importance of not missing out on one’s existence.
Common points between Claude Brasseur and his character
The Student and Monsieur Henri obviously owes a lot to the complicity between its two main actors, but also to the grumpy composition of Claude Brasseur. In the film’s press kitIvan Calbérac explains that he called on the actor because he found “exciting” the fact “to see him having fun being obnoxious”. The author and director explains:
Claude Brasseur has imposed himself in this misuse, he who has often played the seducer, charming boyfriend, ideal dad, smiling spy…
And if the actor took so much pleasure in playing Henri, it was because he discovered several points in common with the character, starting with difficulty expressing their feelings. Still in the press kit, Claude Brasseur declares:
Like Henri, I don’t like to externalize my feelings. I prefer people to guess that I like them. I am modest and shy. It’s one of the reasons I’m an actor. In the cinema, in the theater, I can say “I love you” to a woman when I am incapable of it in life. I don’t care since it’s not me, it’s the man who says it. There is a screen, distancing. It is also for this reason that it is very pleasant to play a bastard. As long as the film does not defend its point of view.
For the actor, The Student and Monsieur Henri is precisely a feature film that can make viewers want to give up this distance. According to him, “it’s a film that can teach people to dare to say that we love“, as he asserts to The Internet user.