22 December 2012 4:08 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

By turns, he scandalises and enthrals. Now, the country's most famous actor is leaving home, angry at the imposition of a new 'supertax'. As he seems all set to settle in Belgium, is this really adieu from Gégé?

From which ever angle you view him – literally, metaphorically, physically – Gérard Depardieu is a colossus of Gallic life.

The term most frequently used to describe the bon vivant but volatile embodiment of French popular cinema is "une force de nature".

Even as the off-screen – often drink-fuelled — excesses of Gégé, as he is fondly known, became ever more outrageous, his legion of French fans would shrug and say it was simply Depardieu being Gérard. As he stuck a chubby finger up to convention they laughed. The more undignified the performance (falling off his scooter while drunk, peeing in the aisle of an aircraft) they still laughed: this was Gérard, no mere mortal but a national institution. »

- Kim Willsher

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