(Châteauroux, France, 1948 – )

Gérard Depardieu was the third of six children in a modest and numerous family of the Berry region of France; his father Déde was a metal worker and his mother Lilette was a housekeeper. After a turbulent adolescence, he moved to Paris to look for work and fortune and for a coincidence started to study acting. In 1974 his first real success arrived with the movie I Santissimi (Going Places) directed by Bertrand Blier. In this film he interpreted a character that is well suited to his personality: a nice brat that has to face some problems with justice. Some years later, he was part of the prestigious cast of Novecento, the epic story of a family of farmers of the Po River Valley filmed in the outskirts of Parma and directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Burt Lancaster, Sterling Hayden, Robert De Niro and Donald Sutherland all were in the cast. With his character, Olmo Dalcò, Dépardieu obtained success and international acclaim. After Jean Gabin, Lino Ventura and Jean Paul Belmondo, Dépardieu played the character of Jean Valjen in Les Miserables. He was defined as the new Gabin by the critics, and was recognized by the actor himself to be his spiritual heir. In 1991 he won the Golden Palm of the Festival of Cannes with Cyrano de Bergerac. In the following years he acted side by side with Letitia Casta and Roberto Benigni in Asterix and with Sergio Castellitto and Diego Abatantuono in Concorrenza sleale (Unfair Competition) directed by Ettore Scola. In 1996 he was awarded the honorific title of “Chévalier de la Légion d’Honneur” (Knight of the Legion of Honor). Dépardieu started a collaboration with Barilla France in 1992 shooting under the direction of Ridley Scott the spot Terrazza romana (Roman Terrace) in which the actor, without speaking a word, shows a couple of young fiances fighting – the young woman in the spot is an attractive Maria Grazia Cucinotta (1969) – that a good meal of pasta, cooked according to the tradition, is capable to express the joy of life and warmth. In 1993, with his famous congeniality, he interpreted the spot Le Café director by David Lynch in Piazza Navona together with a very young Alessia Merz (1974). In 1996 Dépardieu was testimonial for the company again in the spot Balcony where he resolves the problem with lunch of a family of neighbors by personally going to cook for them a nice plate of Barilla spaghetti. In the spot Time for a change, he substitutes on the fly the pasta that the girl living in the apartment on the floor above is preparing for her mom. In 1998 he shoots Casseroles, his last spot for Barilla, in which he welcomes young people who got surprised by a storm and are wet and scared in his country home, and improvises a pasta dinner. Gérard Dépardieu is an ironic and funny character, a grown up boy with a face that is not easy to forget. For his great expressive ability he could be defined a comic actor of the Comedy of Art of the XX Century,

Cecilia Farinelli