A familiar face, maybe

Some time ago, I used to write often about a French singer and actress called Léonie Lousseau, who I really liked.  Unfortunately, instead of being pleased that someone was championing her work, Léonie sent a snotty, ungrateful email asking me not to write about her – in fact, suggesting that I was not allowed to and would have to remove all posts about her from my blog, or else

Well, it’s a way of alienating fans.  Understandably I haven’t felt like writing about her in some time, but look here:I couldn’t resist sharing this and I’m really not sure why I have never noticed it before but this looks very much like Léonie Lousseau (or Martine Collet, whatever her name is).  It’s from the 1969 film Slogan, famous for being the film that brought together my two favourites: Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin.

I can’t say I’m 100% sure this is Léonie / Martine, but I’m 99% sure it is.  She is in a short sequence where Jane’s character Evelyne is living with Serge and throwing a party, which is putting him off his work.  Another distraction comes in the form of this pretty lady, who shares an exchange with him.  The character’s name is Twenty, but that’s all I can tell you as the large supporting cast of Pierre Grimblat’s Slogan remain, for the most part, uncredited so there is no mention of Léonie Lousseau or Martine Collet on the film credits nor on IMDB.

Whoever it is, she’s one lucky lady meeting and (briefly) working with Serge Gainsbourg:

Slogan is one of my absolute favourite Serge / Jane films – it’s stylish and it marks the meeting of the mythical couple.  Check it out, and let me know if you think this looks like Léonie!  And I will certainly let you know if I get into trouble for posting it.

 

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Hero Culte and the Disappointment of Hero Worship

It’s a sad day for Hero Culte.  I need to explain something.  The reason I started this particular blog was two-fold – one, because I felt I had to close down my Klaus Kinski fan website Du dumme Sau! after his daughter’s revelations of abuse but I still wanted to write about something; two, because it felt safer to write about stuff I like in general rather than one particular subject matter – it also gave me a much wider scope, which was nice.  Also, add to this, I have a lot of “stuff” I have accumulated over the years and I wanted to share that with others.

Some time ago I discovered a little-known French singer who went by the name of Léonie or Léonie Lousseau in the 1960s and 1970s.  I thought she was great, I wanted to find all her records and also find out more about her.  She immediately became one of my “heroes” on Hero Culte and I started sharing the information I found out about her on here.  I thought this was something nice to do – I made a lot of effort in my research and I could reveal facts about this mysterious singer as I discovered them; other people on the internet started referencing the information from my site and I could tell it was of interest to Léonie’s small but dedicated fan base.

Out of the blue I received an email from another Léonie fan asking me if she had contacted me demanding that I should remove all articles about her from my site as this is what she had requested he should do; he was concerned that all his hard work on his site was about to come to an end.  At that time I hadn’t heard from Léonie at all and I wondered if this was because I didn’t share her music, which, after all, is not mine to share; otherwise I wasn’t sure why she would contact just this one site with not so much a request as a demand to remove all posts about her from the site.

I lived on in ignorant bliss for a while but, sadly, yesterday Léonie contacted me via YouTube, telling me that my articles about her constituted an invasion of her privacy and that she wanted me to remove them, otherwise she would be obliged to make me remove them.  Imagine how upset I was about being threatened in this way?  She wasn’t just asking me to remove the odd comment that she objected to, it was everything.  As if no one is ever allowed to write about her as someone who once chose to exist in the public eye.  That can’t be right, surely?

One of my friends said to me, “You really do a very good job.  It’s not nice to see that and you don’t deserve it – indeed, this little forgotten artist exists because of people like you.”  Other friends went out of their way to offer support and advice, and even to share similar horror stories of bad experiences with their heroes.  That was the only nice thing to come out of this whole experience, seeing that people support your efforts.

My friends told me not to worry, I hadn’t done anything wrong.  But I find I am still worrying.  I still love Léonie’s music but I don’t think I even like the person behind that music and that is what is so disappointing to me.  Yesterday I considered giving up writing the site, at the moment I am going to take a break from it all and see how I feel later; I don’t really feel like writing much at the moment.

But going back to Léonie’s complaint, is there really any truth in the fact that (she feels) my articles are an invasion of her privacy?  Let’s consider the situation:

  • Léonie has her own YouTube channel  where she occasionally uploads her own music, including alternative versions of tracks and unreleased tracks with images previously unseen – she obviously has some desire to create an interest in her work and her uploads, even if she only does this surreptitiously and intermittently.  She clearly does not want to be forgotten and even throws in the odd reply to people who post comments on her uploads – her comments are always oblique, but it is clear the comments and uploads are coming from Léonie herself.
  • All of the articles (and I mean ALL of the articles) I have written about Léonie and published here on Hero Culte have been based on information that is in the public domain – I have not included any hearsay about her, every item uploaded here can be verified against its source material.
  • Most of the information I have used comes from interviews with Léonie herself.  Surely she cannot object to this?  Original copies of these interviews have been scanned and shared on this site along with my poor attempt at translating that information into English for the non-French speakers out there.
  • Even if Léonie is no longer a recording artiste (and she may well be for all we know), she once was and as such she appeared on TV shows and carried out interviews, revealing information about herself as she saw fit – that information is still out there and is still available to those who care to search for it.  All I have done is found some of that information and pulled together elements of the puzzle.  And, to be clear, in doing so I have promoted her music in the most positive of ways.
  • Léonie also worked as an actress in several films, several of those films are referenced on IMDB under her various pseudonyms – these films are, on the whole, easily available on DVD or in some cases are even on YouTube.  If I choose to buy those films and write about them, I should imagine that I am free to do so, particularly because I do so with an interest in the subject and with, on the whole, the most positive of intentions.
  • Finally, I posted a comment on one of Léonie’s videos five months ago, asking her for an interview and including a link to the articles I had written about her on this site.  She did not respond to my request for an interview, but at that time she posted a bizarre response claiming that unlike Martine Collet (which is Léonie’s real name) who was born in 1947, she (Maarnie47) was actually born in 1847.  She did not raise any objections at all to my articles five months ago.  What has changed since then, I do not know, but what I do know is that I made her aware of my articles five months ago and that should she have wished to raise any objections or take any action against me for these articles, she should have raised it five months ago.  It’s regretful that it should have to come to this.

My message to Léonie is this:  I was a massive fan and I promoted your music, which I loved.  I wrote about you because I thought you were great.  But I won’t be writing about you anymore.  I will not remove the articles about you on your demand, but if you have any serious concerns about anything in particular I am happy to listen to you because I would not wish to make anyone unhappy unnecessarily; I am a good person.  I had only the best of intentions where you were concerned but your email was truly upsetting.  With great sadness I have to say, Léonie, that you are no longer a hero to me and, furthermore, by sending such messages to your fans, all you are doing is alienating the people who are (or were) your greatest supporters.  So long, Léonie!

Leonie Lousseau interview from July 1971

I recently bought a copy of Pop Music Superhebdo dated 8 July 1971 for a François Jouffa article about and interview with Léonie.
Leonie Super Hebdo001Here’s a few interesting snippets from it:

  • We’re back to knocking 3 years off  Léonie’s age in this one – her birthday is still quoted as 8 May but it says 1950 rather than 1947
  • Apparently she likes children, humour and artists of all kinds
  • At the time Léonie was going to buy a red or yellow moped
  • Léonie had no particular place she called home, just 3 suitcases that she kept with her wherever she went
  • The musicians from Jupiter Sunset played on the En Alabama single
  • Léonie was choosy about what she wanted to sing – she  didn’t want to do just anything under the pretext that producers found her cute
  • Léonie studied photography, design and drawing at high school as well as, I think, baking (it says la patisserie in the article)
  • Later she was a model for magazines and then (still at that stage in 1971) she worked as a graphic designer on a monthly magazine for “modern men” – I’m guessing this was Lui but in the Salut Les Copains article about Léonie it said she also worked on SLC
  • Aside from Christophe and Thierry Vincent, another man helped Léonie in her music career – he is named as Stanislas Witold, then a Press Officer at Disques Motors

No amazing bit of new info here but it’s still interesting.  Hope others like it, here it is in full:

Leonie Super Hebdo002

Elsewhere in the magazine it said Léonie would be on the TV show Le Grand Amphi on Sunday 11 July 1971.  Anyway got a copy for me?!!

Polite Notice:  I don’t mind people using my info or pictures but, if you do,  please be decent and credit Hero Culte and link back to this page.  Believe it or not, I put a lot of effort into my work on here!

Leonie Lousseau in Cain From Nowhere

I’ve just discovered yet another name for Léonie Lousseau – this time it’s Léonie Vincent – for her appearance as a waitress (I believe – I’ve not seen it…) in a film called Caïn de nulle part (aka Cain from Nowhere or Voyage vers l’enfer or Voyage pour l’enfer des passions).

It’s directed by a chap called Daniel Daërt (but, note well, he works under about a million pseudonyms).  He seems to have made a bunch of saucy films; I believe this one does not fit into that category, being a modern day retelling of the Cain and Abel story.  It stars Gérard Blain and Bernadette Lafont, so it is bound to be good.

Unfortunately I can’t actually find a copy of the film but I have managed to find a trailer, which includes some clips of the lovely Léonie:

Leonie Cain from Nowhere 1 Leonie Cain from Nowhere 2

Doesn’t she look delicious?

You can watch the trailer on this site, where they are looking for distribution for four of Daniel Daërt’s films.  If anyone wants to release the film with English subs (or even without), I would be most delighted to buy a copy!

Something to note – Léonie Vincent.  Same surname as Thierry Vincent who produced several of her singles (En Alabama,  Le jardin anglais and So Long John) and also took the photograph used on Le jardin anglais cover.  Just sayin’…

Who Are You, Leonie Lousseau? Pt 5

Charles Matton001 Charles Matton002

In my last post about  Léonie Lousseau I mentioned that she had made an appearance in Charles Matton’s 1972 film L’Italien des roses – a film which I haven’t been to get my hands on yet.  But today whilst reading my back issues of Continental Film Review  (April 1972 issue) I came across this article about the film.  No mention of Léonie of course (I suspect she had a very small supporting role) but at least it gives you an idea what the film is like.  If I find anything else I’ll post it, obviously.  And if anyone has the film, please get in touch as I’d love a copy.

Another article from Continental Film Review (October 1972 issue):

Italian Roses003Italian Roses001Italian Roses002

Who Are You, Leonie Lousseau? Pt 4 – the new Christophe Bevilacqua biography

I bought Christian Eudeline’s new biography of Christophe (Daniel Bevilacqua) this week – I can’t wait to read it all in detail but in the meantime I’ve been flicking through it and have found there is an interview with Léonie Lousseau and some more information about her.

Christophe Book

You need to buy the book and read it for yourself really – I’ve read Christian Eudeline’s book about Michel Polnareff and that was really well done, so I am sure this is going to be great.

But in the meantime, courtesy of Christophe Portrait du dernier dandy (with a bit of extra research from me) here are a few snippets about Léonie for you:

  • Léonie was in a short film called Goutte-d’Or Story, directed by Jacques Poitrenaud in 1968 – it was 16 minutes long and features Léonie (credited as Martine Léonie) and Francis Coz. From what I can find out (I can’t find the film, sadly), it’s about a girl and a boy who are in love but don’t want to admit it, and then the girl threatens to leave.  I believe Jean-Claude Vannier provided the soundtrack and it might even be a musical but if anyone knows anything more about it, I’d love to know/see it
  • That same year Jacques Poitrenaud’s son Sebastien Poitrenaud had co-written all of the tracks on the Léonie Lousseau EP Candie – Léonie thought the songs made her seem a bit like an irritating little girl
  • Sebastien Poitrenaud, Jean-Claude Vannier and Boris Viard (one of Léonie’s friends), who all collaborated on the Candie EP, also worked together on the Les Fleurs de Pavot LP
  • After the Candie EP wasn’t quite the success hoped for, Léonie worked as a graphic designer (I think this is correct but the French word is maquettiste) at Filipacchi and then eventually asked Sebastien Poitrenaud if she could pick her own songs to record.  She found En Alabama amongst his tapes and thought it was made for her
  • She designed some record sleeves for Gilbert Montagné (The Morning Comes) and Dynastie Crisis (Litanie pour la fin d’un jour)

Dynastie Crisis Gilbert Montagne

  • Léonie wrote some lyrics for Christophe’s Good bye, je reviendrai when she saw him in the record label offices playing his guitar and struggling with the lyrics
  • Afterwards they wrote Christophe’s track Main dans la main together and then Léonie’s track Lennon
  • The musicians peforming on the En Alabama 7″ were Dominique Perrier and Didier Batard
  • Dominique Perrier said that everyone was in love with Léonie
  • Léonie wasn’t involved during the recording of the music and just came in to record her vocals – she found it frustrating and with all the people involved in the process, with a variety of interests in the project, she found it too complicated and thought the recording studio environment was too masculine/macho
  • The b-side of So Long, John (1975) called L’Autre Petit Prince was inspired by Christophe as was an unreleased track called Les Lumières de la ville
  • According to Christian Eudeline, Léonie has made brief appearances in a few films (regular readers of Hero Culte will have read about some others on here), including Le Mouton enragé (dir Michel Deville, 1974) which I have already written about here on Hero CulteL’Italien des roses (dir Charles Matton, 1972), which I can’t find a copy of, and La Philosophie dans le boudoir (dir Jacques Scandelari, 1971), which you can find on You Tube if you want to see it

Now, moving away from the bullet points, I should say I have watched La Philosophie dans le boudoir in its entirety and I’m not 100% sure if I have identified Léonie correctly so you will need to look out for her yourself.  Warning, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea as it is based on the Marquis de Sade’s play, there’s a lot of nudity and titillation.  It’s incredibly stylised with some attractive make-up, wardrobe and artistic direction but the nub and the gist of the whole thing is that a naive young man with a monobrow is in love with a stony-faced woman who has a very receding hairline.  Despite this, the monobrow man pursues her to a mansion to win her away from the older, hairy man she intends to marry.  It involves lots of orgy scenes, a hedgehog running across the body of a wasted party-goer, a woman pleasuring herself with an octopus and various other seafood (some of them still just about alive) and a man smothering himself in cream and caviar, and all this despite the fact that not one person in the room is paying him any attention whatsoever. For shame!

I thought I’d spotted Léonie a couple of times but it’s hard to say as there are so many people involved and the camera doesn’t stay still for very long.  So instead of having some photos of Léonie for you, I have just picked the prettiest lady I could find with a little beauty spot, like Léonie’s:

Leonie Beyond Love and Evil 2Leonie Beyond Love and Evil 1

She’s pretty like Léonie, but it’s not her.  Okay?

Who Are You, Leonie Lousseau? Pt 3

Yet another Léonie Lousseau discovery… This one makes me very happy, actually.  Everyone knows I’m a big fan of Jane Birkin and that I love Jean-Louis Trintignant, so what could be better than to discover that the lovely Léonie, despite not being best pleased about the Jane Birkin vocals comparisons, appeared with Jane and Jean-Louis in Michel Deville’s 1974 film Le Mouton enragé (aka The French Way or Love At The Top).

Leonie Mouton Enrage105

I believe that this is Léonie playing the character of a maid called Denise.  I’m not 100% sure but it certainly looks like her with those delicate features.  Jean-Louis admires the scenery from start to finish.  Lucky Léonie! I don’t know what it is about Jean-Louis, he kind of looks like an ordinary guy but there’s something absolutely alluring about him and his toothy grin – and whenever he’s around women’s clothes seem to fall off.  Léonie (if it is her) got out of the scene before he made her clothes fall off though.

With yet another name variation, Léonie is credited as Léonie Collet.

Leonie Mouton Enrage100Leonie Mouton Enrage101Leonie Mouton Enrage102Leonie Mouton Enrage103Leonie Mouton Enrage104Leonie Mouton Enrage Credits

I got my DVD from Germany (where it’s called Das Wilde Schaf), you can watch it in French, German or English audio with any number of subtitles available.  It also features Romy Schneider, Florinda Bolkan and Jean-Pierre Cassel – an excellent cast.

More on Léonie soon…

Who Are You, Leonie Lousseau? Pt 2

A little while back I started trying to find out more about that adorable mysterious French singer Léonie Lousseau.

Leonie Nouvelliste-Du-Rhone-1968-01-25

With the help of a friend (Hi, Matthew!) who happened to have an interesting issue of SLC to share, I managed to find out some snippets about Léonie and wrote up a little article about it – if you’ve not seen it yet, here it is.  But adding to that, last night I was doing my usual trawl of the internet and trying to find some more Léonie vinyl to complete my collection and I came across this little gem:

Nouvelliste-Du-Rhone-1968-01-25This is an article from 25 January 1968 in the Nouvelliste du Rhône – you can see the full paper here if you wish.  In the article our Léonie is presented as the “newcomer of the week” and she’s introduced by linking her in with the hot topic of the day: Bonnie & Clyde.  Léonie, we are told, sports the Bonnie Parker look.  Whatever, she looks cute.  We’re also told that her press release describes her as being like a poem by Marcel Rioutord, which has been slightly misquoted.  The original goes something like this:  “You tell me that you love rain, but when it falls you close your window / You tell me that you like fish, but you cut off their heads / You tell me that you like flowers, but you cut off their stalks / So…when you tell me that you love me, I’m afraid!”  Apparently, Léonie is like that! 

What else do we learn?  Finally, we learn her real name:  Martine Collet.  Born 8 May 1947, half way between Rennes and Saint-Malo, 50 metres from a ruined castle once occupied by Bertrand du Guesclin’s soldiers.  Daughter of a professor of literature; grand-daughter of a painter; she has two brothers.  Léonie/Martine studied painting at Sèvres, before being a cover girl [just where are these pictures, I want to know?!].  She has blue eyes and freckles – she is 1m 62 (about 5 foot 4″) and weighs 46 kilos.  The press release goes on to describe Léonie as “a marchioness who rings doorbells to make people press their noses against their windows”.  My French is not fabulous and that’s very literal but there seems to be a sinister undertone to that about sizing up the competition or something.  Anyway, it’s hardly important in the scheme of things considering it comes from a press release – although I wouldn’t mind a copy of that press release for my collection! 

The interesting thing is, in the SLC  article referred to in part one of Who Are You, Leonie Lousseau? it says Léonie was born in 1950 rather than 1947.  Knocking a few years off her age by the early 70’s…?  Not sure why there was a need to do that and I’m not sure we’ll ever find out anything much about Léonie Lousseau.  I’ll keep trying anyway and I hope readers find this of some small interest.

The other thing I have found – and I’m not sure how accurate this information is – the release dates for a couple of singles:  according to a French music database which I have somehow mislaid (I can’t find it now!), Léonie released En Alabama on 30 September 1971 and Le jardin anglais on 24 August 1972.

That’s all the Léonie news I have for now but, hopefully, with my detective hat on, I shall come up with more information at some point.

Usual applies – excuse translations, they’re all by me and I’m absolutely not fluent in French, so there!