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Cycling with Molière
by Karen Pecota

Filmmaker Philippe Le Guay collaborates with infamous French actor Fabrice Luchini with a vibrant screenplay adaptation with dialogue of wit, from historical literary works, perfectly matched for LeGuay\'s latest comedic relief in Cycling with Molière.

The French playwright and actor from the seventeenth century, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a master of comedy in western literature. He was born on January 15, 1622, in Paris, France. He died at the age of fifty-one years old on February 17, 1673. He left behind a legacy of creative literary projects and never dreamed his work would be performed with a passion centuries later in a modern culture.

LeGuay and Luchini take liberty with Molière’s “The Misanthrope” (The Cantankerous Lover) and his seventeenth 17th-century repertoire of comedy for a compelling screenplay adaptation. First performed on June 4, 1666, Molière’s’ satire of the French aristocratic world and its double-standard lifestyle was hard core critique about his countrymen. But, seriously Molière would continue to poke fun at the flaws which all humans possess.

Taking the lead from an artist before his time, LeGuay does the same in Cycling with Molière to humbly expose human weaknesses using comedy to positively mold ones character and one’s own destiny. Le Guay’s charmingly dialogue driven creativity caps on the importance of solid friendships, honesty and the value of working hard toward one’s life passion. There are reasons humans are not meant to do life alone but to share it with others.

Serge Tanneur (Fabrice Luchini), a famous Parisian actor, chooses to run and hide from a successful acting career. Ludicrous, right? Not to Serge. He needs a break to rest his tired body, mind and soul. Serge escapes from the world he knows and loves to an island off the west coast of France near La Rochelle, on the northern side of the Pertuis d’Antioche strait, called Île de Ré. One attraction for physical health is its endless flat bike paths that show off the islands’ breathtaking landscape.

Tucked away in a run-down house Serge finds privacy and solitude on the beautiful island. Without notice he might slip closer toward the life of a hermit but his love for outdoor cycling is his saving grace.

A few years into Serge’s seclusion, his good friend and colleague Gauthier Valence (Lambert Wilson) shows up on his door-step. Gauthier is a beloved television star and has a chance of a lifetime to participate in a stage performance of Moliere’s “The Misanthrope”. He cannot imagine performing the play without Serge as his counterpart. Thus the surprise visit! Gauthier invites Serge to consider a historical theatrical role that he is perfectly suited. Serge, annoyed, turns him down. Right! Serge could not be bothered from the display of his outward countenance. Secretly Serge is pleased to be revered at Gauthier’s invitation.

For friendship sake, Serge agrees to consider Gauthier’s request on one condition: the two must intensely rehearse the play for five days and at the end of the rehearsal week, Serge will choose his role. Gauthier agrees with reluctance. He knows Serge is best suited for the role he covets and the financial sponsors have already positioned the famed television star for the slot. Serge knows this fact, too! It is not until the two men cycle the island rehearsing line after line Molière’s famously ridiculous theatrical piece; and after a display of behavior unbecoming to mature grown men but rather of two selfishly-driven, spoiled-rotten children, do they find the best man for each role.