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Cloclo

Cloclo

Released 29 June 2012
Director Florent-Emilio Siri
Starring



Jeremy Renier, Benoit Magimel, Monica Scattini, Sabrina Seyvecou, Ana Girardot, Josephine Japy, Maud Jurez
Writer(s) Julien Rappeneau
Producer(s)

Cyril Colbeau-Justin, Jean-Baptiste Dupont
Origin France, Belgium
Running Time 148 minutes
Genre Drama, biography, music
Rating TBC
68

His way.

What is it with biopics always being really long? Okay, two and a half hours isn't that bad but you know what I mean – is it really impossible to fit a succinct narrative into a compactly written movie that doesn't then risk the threat of the inevitable sighs, time-ticking and seat squirming? Many people deserve, and indeed have earned, long screen time but not all of these stars' lives or stories are interesting enough to maintain your unwavering attention. Cloclo just about manages to achieve it successfully.

Claude Francois is one of France's biggest pop stars in history, second only to his great rival Johnny Hallyday. In the 1960s and '70s he was the French answer to England's Beatles and America's Elvis. His hero, though, was Frank Sinatra, and when his song 'Comme d'habitude' was picked up by Ol' Blues Eyes himself and transformed into the worldwide hit 'My Way' he knew he had reached his peak. An obsessive compulsive, Cloclo strove, often successfully, to maintain his idol status among teen girls as well as furthering his career into the razzmatazz of English speaking culture – a desire that appeared within touching distance just before his fatal accident in 1978.

The problem with biopics of this nature is that they are often so formulaic. In essence, the life of the protagonist is likewise. While the glitz and glamour is something to yearn after at home, the constant repetition on screen offers little but chronological regurgitation. Particular emphasis is put on Francois' persistent fascination with his women, but what pop star doesn't have a rollercoaster love life?

That said, there is something perplexedly endearing about Jérémie Renier's portrayal of Cloclo. By right, he comes across as arrogant, self-conscious and ill-tempered – a nuisance for all who had the pleasure, or not, of being around his success – but there is so much energy in his work that it is hard not to find yourself engaged and enthralled with his charisma and adaptability.

This is no classic, and it is hard to imagine how it will have much of an impact outside of French-speaking countries, but as a history lesson for one of Europe's most notorious names in entertainment, Cloclo serves as a worthwhile watch.

- David Caulfield