In “Florent recounts Pagny”, on France 3, the singer draws his “lethal weapon”, his voice

Florent Pagny is at the origin of the hundred hours of audio recordings which serve as raw material for the documentary Florent recounts Pagny

In “Florent recounts Pagny”, on France 3, the singer draws his “lethal weapon”, his voice

Florent Pagny is at the origin of the hundred hours of audio recordings which serve as raw material for the documentary Florent recounts Pagny. In this film, enriched with often unpublished archives – in the studio, in rehearsals, with family – the singer looks back with frankness on his journey marked by the discovery, at age 11, of his “lethal weapon”: his voice.

Initially, there was no question of making a film, but a book (Pagny by Florent, Fayard, 2023) written by her friend the novelist and lyricist Emmanuelle Cosso. Based on an idea from Laurent Delahousse, the images were then co-produced with a specialist in biographies, Erwan L'Eléouet, editor-in-chief of the “Un jour, un destin” collection for France 3.

It was also not a question of talking about the illness (eight minutes in the film), but of marking the 60th birthday of the man who was born on November 6, 1961: the singer and the writer began recording their conversations in January 2021 – until February 2023 –, while Florent Pagny learned he had cancer in December 2021.

That said, after the long introduction, viewers should be gripped – despite a somewhat heavy commentary – by the suspense of the first sequence, filmed on June 14, 2003 at the Stade de France, where Johnny Hallyday is giving a concert. Florent Pagny must sing there. But while the camera films him from behind, walking faster, a few seconds before he goes on stage, he gets lost in the corridors...

War with the taxman

The rest, chronologically, begins with Christmas 1990 with family in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône). The storyline revolves around major artistic encounters, from the Levallois conservatory (Hauts-de-Seine), his hit Anything (1987), which catapulted him, at the age of 26, to the top of the Top 50; then Jean-Jacques Goldman, Luciano Pavarotti, up to Calogero and Pascal Obispo, whose talent he salutes on several occasions.

At the same time, the singer insists on the balance that his loved ones provide him. From his romance with Vanessa Paradis, he recalls the violence of the criticism and “the loose” after his departure. Until he met Azucena Caamaño in the spring of 1993. She and Argentina would then occupy a prominent place. Their wedding, filmed on May 13, 2006, with Kad Merad as master of ceremonies and gray poncho, is one of the highlights of the documentary.

With, in another style, the detailed return on his “four-year war” with the tax authorities, which ended with the release of the singer, on January 27, 2005, by the Versailles Court of Appeal. But who remembers that? The information is not relayed by the media.

In 2013, Christophe Cirillo wrote Les Murs porters. In July 2023, Florent Pagny performs this song in Louans (Indre-et-Loire). The excerpt is long, to appreciate the words: “Concrete friends” became “A concrete audience/To last the length/To ward off misfortune/And to find one’s way. " His voice ? He never lost it.