Sog., Scen., Dial.: Jean-Claude Carrière, Pierre Etaix; F.: Jean Boffety; Mo.: Henri Lanoë; Scgf., Co.: Daniel Louradour; Mu.: Claude Stiermans; Su: Jean Bertrand; Int.: Pierre Etaix (Pierre), Annie Fratellini (Florence), Nicole Calfan (Agnès), Alain Janey (Jacques), Ketty France (Miss Girard), Louis Maïss (Mr. Girard), Sandra Fratellini (young woman), Jacqueline Rouillard (Miss Louise), Renée Gardès, Billy Bourbon (the drunk), Micha Bayard (secretary of Bourget), Claude Massot (waiter), Jane Beretta (sesta comare), Magali Clément (Irène), JeanPierre Loriot (old man), Emile Coryn, Sylvie Delalande, Denise Péronne, Luc Delhumeau (angry driver), Tino Fratellini, Gino Fratellini, Jean-Pierre Helga (Bourget), Mad Letty (the nun), Marie Marc (the grand mother), Rolph Zavatta (the switzerland man); Prod.: Paul Claudon per CAPAC, Les Productions de la Guéville, Madeleine Films; Pri. pro.: maggio 1969
Comic cinema was born in France with the advent of film and Méliès. And reborn in Frence with Pierre Etaix. The long patient and carefully thought out ascension of this filmmaker, is a real phenomenon. With no need for swashbuckling or swordplay, scandal or gossip, Pierre Etaix has captured his audience. He has no particular secret, apart from the talent due to a heightened sensibility, an acute vision of the world, of people… and love for the human race. If Le Soupirant was a tribute to silent cinema, Yo Yo an account of ambition and Tant qu’on a le santé a vigorous critique of false progress (the socalled consumer society), Le Grand amour returns to a more human scale, that of poetry, dream and man’s struggle against conformity. We are far away from “American” style comedy, which has much to commend it, and which has contributed so much to the art of film. Le Grand amour is distinguished by a certain simplicity, that of the rich in spirit. Everythong unfolds on that fragile border which separates dream from reality, escape from conditioning. (…) Pierre Etaix and Jean-Claude Carriè- re have constructed a portrait of family life that is both tender and blistering, eschewing showiness and, above all, what is really remarkable, without any borrowing from existing films. If one invented the term “comic new wave”, Grand amour would suit it perfectly. There is more talk than in Pierre Etaix previous films. Talk, not only in the dialogue, but in visuals, and the gags are not a battle between man and object (as with Chaplin, Keaton, Mack Sennett’s protagonists), but rather between the characters and their imaginations. Best better, the viewer is pulled in and enticed to let himself go, to use his own imagination…in fact, to find himself on the screen. (…) Le Grand amour is also brimful of visual invention, such as the country road where cars are replaced by beds, whose occupants dream or have nightmare and even collide with one another, or the successive phases of the protagonists’ marriage, etc. Pierre Etaix, rather than use seasoned actors (apart from himself, Annie Fratellini and the young actress from La Comédie Française, Nicole Calfan), has, for the supporting roles, opted to employ circus performers “who are more conversant with everyday gestures”: Rolf Zavatte, Louis Maïs, Loriot, etc., who have the advantage of immediately understanding what is required of them. A great film? A film unique of its kind, a discovery, a morsel of tenderness and warmth. Samuel Lachize, Heureux les riches d’esprit…, “l’Humanité”, 19 March 1969
Restaured in 2010 by Studio 37, Fondation Technicolor pour le Patrimoine du Cinéma e Fondation Groupama Gan pour le Cinéma.