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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Few artists span the decades, the mediums and the continents the way
Line Renaud does. A true Diva -with a capital D, yes- Line Renaud is
certainly of this prestigious elite and what endears her to her public
and faithful fans is not so much her accomplishments, which are
astounding, but her kind nature and all-around wholesomeness, apparent
since day one, when she produced herself under the nom d'artiste of
This documentary reflects to the utmost degree the grandeur of the woman and all of her importance in both the history of her native country as in that of show-business overall. An accomplished singer and actress, she has also been the voice of aids awareness and fund-raising in France. Her devotion to her craft, her loved ones and her country knows no bounds - and we see the progression of that, decade by decade, year by year, all throughout this fascinating time capsule extremely well-narrated and well conceived as well.
Line Renaud is, all at once, the Doris Day, Elizabeth Taylor, Amalia Rodrigues, Debbie Reynolds, Michèle Richard, Joan Baez and Dusty Springfield of her nation! She combines the talent and qualities of all of these -and more- either on stage (as either an actress or a singer) on film or in real life. All the evidence of that is made amply available here through vast archival material from many sources, footage that shows the extent of the amazing career this fascinating lady has enjoyed and continues to enjoy to this day. From Bob Hope to Madonna - everyone makes a cameo here! Even Woody Allen is mentioned here - this first lady of entertainment has affected them all and, through her touching and often groundbreaking work, she has moved us all too, no matter where we are on the planet and whether we speak French or not!
Louis Gasté (Loulou) was her husband, great love and invaluable supporter since the very beginning. With him by her side, she toured the planet, went everywhere, recorded the same hit song in five different languages and did what none had done before - creating envy amongst several of her peers which caused a need to exile, for a while... "Qu'à cela ne tienne", as they'd say in Paris, it was then that Line Renaud conquered American audiences as well! Proof enough that one should always look at the bright side - and, with Line Renaud's music, one can do only that!
The most touching part of this documentary may well be the footage where we see Line with her mother and grandmother, together for the final time... The three women who survived the horrors of war together, smiling, reminded me a lot of my own family's matriarchy - and, having lost my father recently, I also found deeply touching the scenes in which Line's anguish is apparent, at Loulou's funeral... One can only come to a single conclusion: the kindhearted Line Renaud deserved to be spared any grief.
This great film about a greater than great lady is thus highly recommended.
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