Was La Môme/La Vie en Rose (2007) the first ever French biopic? One might think so, given the recent introduction of this generic label in the French language and the unprecedented number of biopics currently being released, going into production, or being announced in the media since 2007: Jean de la Fontaine, le défi/Jean de la Fontaine, the Challenge (2007); Molière (2007); Sagan (2008); Sans arme, ni haine, ni violence/The Easy Way (2008), about the famous gangster Albert Spaggiari; Séraphine (2008); Coluche, l’histoire d’un mec/Coluche, the Story of a Guy (2008); Mesrine (2009); Sœur Sourire/Sister Smile (2009), about Belgian singer and nun Jeanine Deckers; Coco avant Chanel/Coco Before Chanel (2009); Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009); Gainsbourg (Vie héroïque)/Gainsbourg (2010); Carlos (2010); La Conquête/The Conquest (2011), which tells the story of how Nicolas Sarkozy rose to power; Jeanne captive/The Silence of Joan (2011), a new account of the life of Joan of Arc; and Cloclo/My Way (2012), a biography of Claude François, the undisputed star of French “middle-of-the-road” music (variété) in the 1970s. Some of these films enjoyed considerable box office success: La Vie en Rose drew in 5.2 million viewers; Mesrine Part I (L’Instinct de mort/Killer Instinct), 2.3 million; Mesrine Part II (L’Ennemi public n° 1/Public Enemy #1), 531.5 million; and Séraphine, 821,000, an exceptional achievement for an art-house film made on a relatively small budget. 1 At the time of writing, a number of films have gone into production: a new film about sculptor Camille Claudel directed by Bruno Dumont, focusing on her years spent in a psychiatric hospital; a biopic about Jérôme Kerviel, the Société Générale trader and fraudster; another on Yves Montand; another on Romy Schneider; and yet another on Grace Kelly, to name only a few. The scale of French biopic production has attracted considerable attention in the media and in critical debates: the genre, perceived as a new trend imported from Hollywood, has often been stigmatized for “swamping” French theatres. 2