Art And Culture

French Have ‘Lost Their Happiness’

French Have ‘Lost Their Happiness’
French Have ‘Lost Their Happiness’

Film star Gérard Depardieu, who left his native France after a tax row with authorities, said in an interview on Thursday that the French have become miserable under President François Hollande, adding that France is “not interesting anymore.”

“The French have lost their happiness. They don’t believe in it anymore,” Depardieu said in an interview that coincided with Thursday’s release of his autobiography, ‘That’s How It’s Done’.

“I feel sorry for the French when I hear what they tell me. When I’m in France … people ask me, ‘So are you coming back?’ I tell them: ‘Well, no.’ I stay there for two days and then I return to what people think is a dictatorship,” the actor told French weekly Le Point, referring to his new home in Russia, where he relocated after President Vladimir Putin offered him citizenship last year.

The outspoken – and often controversial – actor said that the final straw came when the Socialist government, shortly after Hollande’s inauguration in 2012, announced plans to impose a 75 percent tax rate on the wealthy, including Depardieu.

“There’s such hatred for the rich. Such bitterness, such spite,” the actor said, insisting that it was the French attitude towards the rich – rather than the threat of the 75% tax itself – that made him leave.

When France’s then prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, accused Depardieu of being “pathetic,” the actor phoned up Hollande to complain: ‘Long live France’  “I said I’m getting out of here.”

Hollande’s tax plan was later struck down by France’s highest legal body, the Constitutional Council.

 Lacking Leadership

Depardieu warned that not only the country’s spirits but also its image was about to go down the drain due to a lack of leadership.

“If we carry on like this, France will become a new Disney World. People will be wearing berets and carrying baguettes under their arms and all the Chinese tourists will come here to touch their moustaches and big noses.”