The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Singer: Yves Montand
A finely crafted film by the unique film-poet, Chris Marker, The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Singer aims to convey two aspects of the actor/singer Yves Montand: his political conviction and his artistic integrity.
In February 1974, Montand agreed to prepare in one week a performance of some of his best-known songs for the benefit of the Chilean refugees after Allende's overthrow. In this remarkable film, we see the anxious tension, the moments of relaxation, everything which went into his polished appearance on the stage at the Olympia in Paris. The skillful cuts back and forth between the final performance and the rehearsals the week before allow us to see how carefully the show is put together by Montand. He tests every gesture, goes over and over every rhythm change. His accompanist and friend, Bob Castella, emerges as a warm, appealing personality, who in one excellent scene must stand up to Montand's explosive anger when there is a discrepancy between the music and the words.
As we continue to be entertained by Montand's virtuoso singing, we are led by Chris Marker into a deeper understanding of the man. Montand talks about politics, about women; we get film clips from some of his best roles (La Guerre est finie, Z, The Confession, and so on). In the end, we understand Montand when he says: “I sing today so that we don't forget the blood of yesterday.”