Aznavour By Charles
Le regard de Charles
A fascinating ‘autobiographical’ film assembled from a trove of Super 8 and 16mm footage French music star Charles Aznavour shot – and appears in – from the late 1940s to early 1980s.
Offers unparalleled insight into the life of one of France’s greatest artists.
In 1948, French superstar Édith Piaf gifted her friend and fellow music icon Charles Aznavour a Paillard-Bolex film camera that became the singer’s constant companion over more than three decades – on tour, backstage, and with which Aznavour also documented his personal life. In 2017, the year before his death, Aznavour invited filmmaker Marc di Domenico to his home and entrusted the entire trove of 8 and 16mm film to the director. Aznavour by Charles is the result, an absorbing film and one in which Aznavour is posthumously credited as co-director, given the intimate perspectives the films he shot – or appeared in – reveal.
Overlaid with narration (by French actor Romain Duris) freely adapted from Aznavour’s diaries and other written sources, the film delves beyond the singer’s celebrity facade to mine personal history including his parents' perilous exodus out of Armenia, Aznavour’s early years in Montmartre, his relationships with (successive) wives Micheline, Evelyne, and Ulla, and his travels across the globe – to La Paz, Hong Kong, Montreal, Japan, the Italian isle of Capri, Senegal, Casablanca, New York City and Las Vegas, and Russia – interwoven with behind-the-scenes footage of club dates and concerts, including at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. A seemingly endless parade of French and international stars including Catherine Deneuve, Dalida, Anouk Aimee, Kirk Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr. and many more fabulous others make ‘cameos’ throughout.
– Roberta Ciabarra; Curator, Film