Movies, musicals, works of art… Six smiling characters

♦ Happy

Gene Kelly

“From my point of view, the sun has never been more dazzling”, Don tells Kathy after dark, in the pouring rain. We know the rest of this scene from Let’s sing in the rainone of the happiest of the 7and art. After a last kiss to his beauty, Don lets go of the taxi that was supposed to take him home and closes his umbrella to sing and dance in the downpour. Galvanized by an evening when he discovered that his love for Kathy was shared, eyes half-closed to better savor his joy, he outlines light steps and tap dancing, jumps on a lamppost, does not fear the downpours that pour onto the sidewalk, play at splashing with the mischievous jubilation of a child. “I’ve a smile on my face”, repeats Gene Kelly, the interpreter of Don. Her smile evokes total harmony and the grace of the moment, while recalling the source of this pure joy: Kathy’s love. He “expresses vitality, exuberance when life springs to full body”emphasizes David Lebreton.

DVD and VOD (CanalVOD…)

♦ Maleficent


Movies, musicals, works of art… Six smiling characters

The big smile drawn on the face of the Auguste is the promise of good humor and laughter for the spectators. But in the United States, the message is reversed from the 1970s and more massively in the 1980s: the clown disguise is used to attract children to murder them in life (as did the serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr, arrested in 1978), literature and cinema. In That, the best-selling book in the United States when it was released in 1986, Stephen King was inspired by the serial killer and Ronald McDonald, a figure of aggressive capitalism, to create the character of Pennywise, an evil clown who kills children every twenty-seven years in the small town of Derry. Andy Muschietti transposes the novel on the big screen in two films released in 2017 and in 2019, where Grippe-Sou displays this “double-edged smile that deceives the victim but terrifies the viewer or reader, explains David Lebreton. Appearances are deceiving, but it is too late. »

Book: two-volume box set, Le Livre de poche, 800 p., €19.90/ On DVD and VOD (CanalVOD, etc.)

♦ Socialite

Adrian Deume

Movies, musicals, works of art… Six smiling characters

In Beauty of the lord, published in 1968, Albert Cohen portrays Adrien Deume, a young official of the League of Nations, as ambitious as he is lazy, who sees nothing of the seduction that his hierarchical superior, Solal des Solal, exerts on Ariane, his wife, and manipulation which consists of sending him on a mission abroad for several months. All in his conceit and his concern for social ascent in the diplomatic world, Adrien Deume associates with others only out of interest. Among his weapons, he thinks he has his smile: “Arriving before the coveted prey, he fabricated a worldly expression of delighted astonishment, smiled and bowed deeply, holding his right hand ready. » A smile accompanies each of his great cynical maneuvers. But there comes a time when he wonders if he is overdoing it and when he develops a new strategy: “Every three or four minutes, just a little smile to show that he participated, that he sympathized, but as an independent man, as an equal. »

Folio, 1,120 pages, €13

♦ Ambiguous

The Mona Lisa

Movies, musicals, works of art… Six smiling characters

The most famous painting in the world depicts a smile that is no less famous. It was probably between 1503 and 1507 that Leonardo da Vinci painted Lisa del Giocondo at the request of her husband, placing her in front of a mysterious landscape. To avoid the boredom of the hours of posing, singers, musicians and jesters were probably busy around the Mona Lisa, perhaps the origin of this half-smile which has never ceased to intrigue, unalterable, suspended and yet as if on the verge of extinction. Happiness of a young mother who gave birth to two viable sons? Expression of a memento mori ? Stories and experts clash with their theories. Even Freud devoted an article to Leonardo da Vinci’s canvas and to “that remarkable, bewitching and enigmatic smile, whose enchantment he imprinted on the lips of his female figures”. The inventor of psychoanalysis, quoted by David Lebreton, sees “the reserve and the seduction, the tenderness full of abandonment and the sensuality to the requests devoid of consideration”but also a “threat auguring misfortune”.

Louvre Museum, in Paris

♦ Seducer

Frederick Lemaitre

Movies, musicals, works of art… Six smiling characters

“Ah, you smiled! Don’t say no, you smiled. Oh, that’s wonderful! Life is beautiful ! And you are like her… so beautiful, you are so beautiful too! » In The Children of Paradise, Marcel Carné’s masterpiece, the process, touching as it is, is well established when Frédérick (Pierre Brasseur) addresses these words to Garance (Arletty) in the crowd of the Boulevard du Crime, in Paris. The smile of the suitor, feigned and crafty, must lead the one he is trying to seduce to return it, a promise of amorous conquest. “He indeed brings a smile to Arletty, who is not fooled but who agrees to walk with him for a while”, notes David Lebreton. The two walk together, Frédérick still with his beguiling smile and his charming compliments, Garance responding to the enthusiasm of this suitor by pushing him away with an irony softened by his amused smile: “Paris is very small for those who love each other with such a great love. »

On DVD and VOD (Orange, CanalVOD, etc.)

♦ Disconcerting

The Cheshire Cat

Movies, musicals, works of art… Six smiling characters

“I’ve seen a cat without a smile, but never a smile without a cat”says the heroine ofAlice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Often perceived as an incarnation of madness, the Cheshire (or Chester) cat, a philosopher in his spare time, advises Alice, guides her, annoys her too, in the book as in the transpositions on the big screen produced by Disney Studios then by Tim Burton. He speaks in a language incomprehensible to ordinary mortals and agitates with extravagant gestures. It has the other particularity of appearing and disappearing as it pleases, sometimes partially, leaving only its tail or its smile. A very special smile, as broad as it is frozen, addressed to everyone and to no one like “a routine of behavior or a facade”notes David Lebreton, who adds: “This character only seeks to give the illusion or to comply with the rules of civility. »

Disney film on DVD and VOD (Orange, CanalVOD…)


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