A semi-literate and lonely odd-job man bonds with a much older and well-read woman.


Jean Becker


Jean Becker (screenplay), Jean-Loup Dabadie (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Gérard Depardieu ... Germain Chazes
Gisèle Casadesus ... Margueritte Vandeveld
Maurane ... Francine
Sophie Guillemin ... Annette
Patrick Bouchitey ... Landremont - le garagiste
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Jojo dit The Cook
Claire Maurier Claire Maurier ... Jacqueline Chazes - La mère de Germain
Anne Le Guernec Anne Le Guernec ... Jacqueline Chazes jeune
Bruno Ricci ... Marco
Lyès Salem ... Youssef - le serveur
Matthieu Dahan Matthieu Dahan ... Julien
François-Xavier Demaison ... Jean-Michel Gardini dit Jean-Mi
Régis Laspalès ... Monsieur Bayle - L'instituteur
Serge Larivière ... Le neveu de Margueritte
Jérôme Deschamps Jérôme Deschamps ... Le maire


The prolific and beloved actor Gérard Depardieu stars as a simple semi-literate gardener coming from a harsh past when a chance friendship with a fragile sophisticated well-read old woman draws him into a much gentler environment where he remembers every word. Makes you think of Forrest Gump a la française. His girlfriend does not understand what is happening and his friends laugh at him. Written by berthine

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


French visa # 123205. See more »


While Germain studies his dictionary, his cat lying on the table changes position instantly between several shots. See more »


Germain Chazes: It's not a typical love affair, but love and tenderness, both are there. Named after a daisy, she lived amongst words, surrounded by adjectives in green fields of verbs. Some force you yield to. But she, with soft art, passed through my hard shield and into my heart. Not always are love stories just made of love. Sometimes love is not named but it's love just the same. This is not a typical love affair I met her on a bench in my local square. She made a little stir, tiny like a bird with her ...
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User Reviews

Jean Becker, the king of "Non-Action Movies"
14 May 2011 | by guy-bellingerSee all my reviews

A man (not so young) and a woman (very old) on a bench (the standard model), a few pigeons and few books, such are the basic ingredients of "La Tête en Friche". Not much in terms of dramatic backbone, but more than it takes for Jean Becker to make one of these heart-warming movies of which he has had the secret since "Les enfants du marais" (1995).

Little-known novelist Marie-Sabine Roger has provided the director, well assisted by the veteran scriptwriter Jean-Loup Dabadie, with typical Jean Becker material : the place of the action set somewhere in the French provinces (in this case, a village in the South-West of France), ordinary people as heroes (in "La tête en friche", a local Forrest Gump-like jack of all trades, a delicious 94-year-old lady who lives in an old people's home and a bunch colorful village people) as well as a lot of heart.

It is hard indeed to remain insensitive to the two leading characters, to the birth and development of a deep friendship between them, all the more as they are embodied to perfection by two wonderful actors, bulky Gérard Depardieu (a John Blunt who, against all odds, discovers the virtues of reading) and frail Gisèle Casadesus (as his unexpected Pygmalion). The two performers form an odd but touching couple that very few audience members can resist.

Funny and touching, light but not superficial, "La tête en friche" affords the luxury of examining, without depressing the viewer, such serious subjects as illiteracy, the status of the elderly in our society, the nearness of death, the aftermath of a difficult childhood...

The only thing that could be blamed on the authors is their giving Germain (Depardieu) a young mate. It is not Sophie Guillemin's fault at all : she is marvelous in the role. Fresh, natural, even solar. She is perfect but... twice as young as her partner. Not very believable, I am afraid.

But this is only a minor shortcoming. As a whole, "La Tête en friche" is an intelligent, sensitive and enjoyable film. One more achievement for Jean Becker.

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French | Flemish

Release Date:

16 September 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mis tardes con Margueritte See more »

Filming Locations:

Pons, Charente-Maritime, France


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,900, 18 September 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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