Vladimir Kuzma: “Pierre Richard took himself for God personally”

Dra long blond to me Diva, passing by The boom, the adventures of Rabbi YaakovAnd the Glory to my father where The elephant cheats a lot, For sixty years, Vladimir Kuzma created music for the greatest popular successes in cinema. Not a recipe, but ideas, talent and a lot of work. Throughout a story of more than 500 pages, full of confrontations (Gerard Ory, Jean-Jacques Pinnex, Claude Zeddi…), anecdotes, reflections, telling in particular how his father took him to Paris in 1963 and how he, Stalin born in Bucharest, liberated by Russian forces 1945, and returned to France, the host country.

Installed in his vast Parisian apartment, which overlooks the Longchamp racetrack, Vladimir Kuzma entrusts the Point Some untold stories.

the point : Your book is called My diary from dream to reality. To write a 500-page paper, full of tales and memories, you need the memory of an elephant, right?

Vladimir Kuzma : yes ! Above all, it’s a lot of work. I still remember the important moments. Fortunately, if I don’t always feel good, I still have my head all over, but I write so many things in a notebook that I don’t forget them.

Which ?

For example, I didn’t talk about dinner with Serge Ginsburg and Jane Birkin at the time leek racing, by Claude Zaidi (1975). Jane turned to me and said, “Vladimir, you’re a great musician (as Ginsburg counts as a plum!), What do you think of John Barry? [son ex-mari et grand compositeur des James Bond et d’Out of Africa, NDLR] ? Serge thinks he’s the nerd at making soup. Embarrassed, I answered him: “I admire him very much. He is a wonderful musician, very creative, very original. Then she turned to Serge and said to him: “You see, you are talking nonsense. dont care.

Why, at the age of 23, in 1963, did you arrive from your native Romania in Paris with a violin as your only baggage?

A violin and two large notebooks. It was my father above all who wanted me to study and work in Paris, where he lived with my mother in the 1920s and 30s, having studied at the Lycée Janson de Siles. He fell in love with the city and French culture. It was the era of Ravel, Fury, Debussy, Picasso, a song with Charles Trinier. There was something going on, artistic richness that we could talk about. Today, I don’t know what we can talk about, almost nothing. In 1939, for his father’s funeral, he returned to Romania with my mother, who is pregnant with me because I was born in Paris. War broke out, borders were closed and he remained in Romania, where he had such a good career as a conductor, that he became one of the most highly regarded musicians in the country.

I immediately liked Stalin and the Russians because they saved us from the Nazis.

In your book, you identify yourself as the son of Stalin. this to say?

Because I was born in the middle of the war, in 1940, and lived during the liberation of Romania by Soviet forces in 1945. They were our liberators, and immediately I loved Stalin and the Russians because they saved us from the Nazis. I also love them for their music. Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khachaturian, Stravinsky fed me. And there you are! I did not leave Romania outside the realm of anti-communism. It was fate that wanted him this way.

What happens when you arrive in Paris?

I was greeted at the Gare du Nord by artists I worked with in Romania: Yves Montand, Catherine Sauvage, Los Paraguay. My joy did not last long because Montand turned to the cinema and Los Paraguay went out of fashion. She managed with the help of a woman of Romanian origin, Mica Salabert, whose husband, Francis, was the head of Salabert’s musical releases.

She meets Michel Legrand, with whom she works as an assistant.

This is it. We were supposed to go to Los Angeles together, and one day, he got a phone call from Yves Robert asking him to compose the music for his movie. Blessed Alexander. Legrand refused and Yves Robert asked him: “And the young man who works with you?” “Impossible, he is going with me!” “He disconnected. I’m crazy. I told him: “Michel, it would be great if you could compose it. I have three months to join you.” Then he took the phone and called Yves Robert on the set: “I give you a nice gift, this is Vladimir’s address: 15 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Paris 1Verse. And so it all began.

Read alsoMusic – Greetings: Michel the Great

For you who have written over 1000 scores for movies, TV, concerts and even operas, Marius and FannyWhat is good movie music?

Just good music. It should be popular and scientific, smooth and simple. Unlike some classical colleagues, I have always been passionate about jazz, folklore and folk music, which I incorporated into my compositions. At all times, composers have been the inspiration for the popular successes of their time. Brahms, Bartok and Stravinsky relied on the folklore of their countries. When you are an artist, musician, or painter, you are not working for yourself, but for others. It is an act of generosity.

Which takes a lot of energy…

We start with an idea, a few notes, and everything remains to be done. I do not consider myself to be Beethoven, but the beginning (Tintin Tintin Tintin) of 5eNothing compared to all the later developments. Similarly, when I composed the first notes of Rabbi Yaakov (He neglects the introduction), we had to compose everything else, which is an enormous task. The music gives the impression of simplicity, yet sophisticated in its depths.

In everyday life, de Funes was a serious and thoughtful man, not at all such a flirty style as Colucci or Pierre Richard.

Around Rabbi Yaakov, there, at the front of your book, is a handwritten letter from Louis de Funes telling you of his admiration. What memory do you keep?

De Funes is my childhood passion. In Romania, there were few French films in theaters. I wasn’t a movie fan, but I went to see all of his movies, even if he only had two or three lines. Yes, I was crazy about it. I remember beautiful american Which I have to see 20 times. Then he became a star with Gerard Ory.

De Funès started his career as a pianist in a bar. Did you talk about music together?

Yes, because we spent a lot of time designing the soundtrack Rabbi Jacob. I think he adopted me, the proof with this wonderful and rare letter, because it was not written for everyone. In everyday life, he was a serious and thoughtful man, he did not joke at all like Colucci or Pierre Richard. Then he had a serious heart attack that kept him from working for months. dead stop. Gerard Urey had a photography project with him crocodile And that never happened because insurance companies didn’t want to cover a de Funès patient. Try to find someone else, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Lino Ventura… and I think it hurts him a lot to know that the movie might be made with someone else.

Fortunately, his career did not end there…

No, because a crazy big producer, Christian Fechner [Les Charlots, la bande du Splendid, NDLR]He took it in his head to hire Luis de Funes without insurance. It is a huge legal risk that he takes on without hesitation. his idea? Create an explosive duo with Pierre Richard L wing or thigh. De Funès accepts, but is really treated like a very sick person. Filming took place near the Place d’Iéna, in the former private chateau of Jean Eiffel. In the inner courtyard, I remember a large white tent that was like a field hospital. Everything was ready in case something went wrong. De Funès was not sick, but fragile, and it was necessary to make life easier for him between times, which lasted for hours, all day long. So I was talking to him in his trailer. We were talking about music of course and many things. We are very close. The movie was a huge success.

Read also“Wing or thigh”, France divided into two and folded into four

Without Pierre Richard, but with Colucci …

yes. Pierre Richard, who considered himself God personally, found his role to be less than that of Louis de Funes. Each time the script refused to request extras. Claude Zidi, a gentle and quiet man, tried to smooth things over for a while. Nothing to do. And one day, for the first time, I saw him angry when his production director, Pierre Gronstein, told him that Pierre Richard still rejected the script. Zadee called Colucci, who liked him because he showed him a sketch The king of jokes. He hadn’t made a movie but had a real comedic mood. He said to her: Come and see me, I have an important role for you. Colucci arrived on a motorbike ten minutes later. He said: “Look, no need to give me the script. Shooting with de Funes and Claude Zidi, yes right away, and above all, do not forget to send a big thank you to Pierre Richard! »

When you look at your long career, do you consider yourself to be a consistently satisfied, happy or dissatisfied artist?

Nor is this true. I am neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Music is my life and I am not working to get a job, to get to the Himalayas. It’s my daily life and I try to work with a lot of fun and rigor. People often ask me what is my favorite music that I have composed. It’s complicated because I’m always coping with the same intensity and the same desire to give my best. And sometimes it happens boom and “Reality” which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. crazy thing. If there is an explanation, it is the good lord who was there… I don’t have a recipe. I think my first big success was simply the idea of ​​the flute (George Zamfir’s idea) in Long blond with black shoes…

Vladimir Cosmo, My diary from dream to reality (colour)

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