- Director: Florent-Emilio Siri
- Genre: Drama
- Details: France / 148mins (TBC)
Cloclo is the first Wikipedia biopic. What does that mean? Wikipedia usually gives us the basic information – an overview of the subject with side information only a click away. That's Cloclo, a biopic on French chanteur Claude Francois, who made a career of adapting popular songs into French but was probably most famous for co-writing My Way.
Cloclo zips through Francois' life so fast we only get to know the broad strokes: a rich kid turned poor, Claude Francois (Renier) wants to be a singer but mean dad won't have it. The determined Claude lands a job as a house musician, however and after several failed attempts to record a hit, Claude adapts The Everly Brothers' Made To Love. It's a hit and he never looks back. A chameleon, Cloclo changes his image constantly to fit in with the times – when Disco comes around, Cloclo changes accordingly, records The Bee Gees' Massachusetts and scores another hit. Then he launches his own record company. Then a fashion agency. And so on.
Mesrine could be accused of being a biopic that was a Greatest Hits package of Jacques Mesrine's life but that thriller was steeped in life or death situations. A biopic of a musician doesn't have that. The speed of which the story is told stalls any chance of being engaged with what Cloclo goes through: will he get signed or will he oh, he's signed. Okay, will he make it France Gall or will she… oh, he's with her. And on and on and on. Cloclo is laid out without the peaks and troughs one expects from a drama: this happened and then this happened and then that happened afterwards. When all that was done, this happened. That goes on for two-and-a-half hours. This is a shame because for those who weren't aware of this fascinating man, there was a good movie to be had.
It does stumble across real energy and fun from time to time - the Johnny Hallyday and Otis Redding gigs are almost punk in atmosphere. One long scene, which unfolds in one shot, sees Cloclo leave his apartment and evade the girls who line up to kiss and touch him. He makes it to his care and drives slowly along the promenade, high-fiving more girls who are lined up along the road, and arrives at his studio moment later where more girls are waiting. It's exciting and fascinating and although there are other moments like this director Florent-Emilio Siri can't keep anything approaching consistency. Renier's performance is an engaging one. In every scene, his face, which bears an uncanny resemblance to Francois, subtly changes into an almost caricature of himself; with his plucked eyebrows and heavy makeup, Renier looks more and more ridiculous and more and more like Bogarde's von Aschenbach as the drama unfolds.
Apologies for the use of the word drama as its hard found here. Walk The Line pinned its story on Cash's want to be wanted-either his father or June Carter-and found the necessary drama but there's nothing like that here. Cloclo doesn't say anything about Claude Francois: Yes, we get a sense of what he was like-womanising asshole, ambitious asshole - but when that's all you get in a two-and-a-half hour movie you've messed up.
A good story badly told, there was a decent movie in here somewhere but there's nothing one comes away with other than basic knowledge of its subject and a feeling of frustration.
Review by Gavin Burke | 12:16 | Friday 22nd June 2012 | Movie Review
Unfortunately, this has no subtitles.Posted 15:05 | Mon 25th Jun 2012
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