My Afternoons with Margueritte

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My Afternoons with Margueritte
La tête en friche.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean Becker
Produced by Louis Becker
Gérard Depardieu
Screenplay by Jean Becker
Jean-Loup Dabadie
Story by Amélie Bérard
Marie-Sabine Roger (book)
Starring Gérard Depardieu
Gisèle Casadesus
Claire Maurier
François-Xavier Demaison
Music by Laurent Voulzy
Cinematography Arthur Cloquet
Edited by Jacques Witta
K.J.B. Production
Distributed by Cohen Media Group
Release date(s)
  • 5 September 2010 (2010-09-05)
Running time 82 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office 14,106,721 USD

My Afternoons with Margueritte (French: La Tête en friche) is a 2010 French film directed by Jean Becker, based on the book of the same name by Marie-Sabine Roger. It stars Gérard Depardieu, Gisèle Casadesus, Claire Maurier, Maurane, François-Xavier Demaison. The film tells the story of an illiterate man who bonds with an older and well-read woman.[1]


Germain is a 45-year-old illiterate handyman and he has not had much in his early life. Since childhood, he has been the target of insults and ridicule at school because he had trouble reading. He was a slow reader. His mother, who unintentionally became pregnant, treated him cruelly. She never offered him love and affection and only kept reminding him that he was an unwanted oaf. But he was loyal with a good heart and still parked his trailer about her house where he had his lovely vegetable garden. Each week he carried crops to sell at the farmers’ market, which provided him with some income. Every day, he took pleasure at the bar where he met his friends to joke and chat. Annette, a younger woman who drove a local bus, was his girlfriend and they seemed to enjoy their relationship.

One afternoon, on a park bench, Germain met Margueritte, a 95-year-old delicate lady who fed the same 14 pigeons as he did. She is highly educated and has traveled the world with the World Health Organization and has spent her life reading literature. She now lives in a retirement institution. Because reading terrified Germain, Margueritte began to read “The Plague" by Camus aloud to him. That was the first time he started to understand the beauty of words by creating an imagination in his head. The symbolism method Albert Camus used in this philosophical novel led him to thinking things that he had never thought about before. To date, they met every day to continue their reading sessions. A friendship developed which had healing powers that lessened the hidden sorrow in Germain’s life. One day, Margueritte gave him an old dictionary, but after trying to search for some words, he decided to return it. He found that reading hurt his self-esteem because it brought out serious difficulties. Then Margueritte told him that her eyesight was gradually fading due to her suffering from macular degeneration, so Germain decided to overcome his illiteracy. With Annette supporting him, he learned to recite a story aloud to Margueritte. Shortly after, Germain’s mother died leaving a will and he discovered he was bequeathed her house and all her fortune. The notary revealed that his mother had dedicated all her lifetime in earning money for him but sadly she did not show that when she was alive. Meanwhile, Annette announced her pregnancy to Germain who did not have confidence with children, but she encouraged him so that he could give love. In the end, Margueritte was forced to leave her retirement home because his nephew and niece were no longer eligible for the pension, so she went to live in Belgium but left him a dictionary as a present for Germain. Germain did not accept her departure and went over to take her home. He asked Margueritte to live with him. On the way home, Germain read a poem about what Margueritte had done for him.[2]

"It's not a typical love affair

But "love" and "tenderness"

Both are there

Named after a daisy

She lived amidst words

Surrounded by adjectives

In green fields of verbs

Some force you to yield

But she with soft art

Passed through my hard shield

And into my heart

Not always are love stories

Just made of love


Love is not named

But it's love just the same...

This is no typical love affair

I met her on a bench in my local square

She made a little stir, tiny like a bird

With her gentle feathers

She was surrounded by words

Some as common as myself

She gave me books, two or three

Their pages have come alive for me

Don't die now,

You've still time, just wait

It's not the hour, my little flower

Give me some more of you

More of the life in you


Not always are love stories

Just made of love

Sometimes love is not named

But it's love just the same."[3]



  1. ^ Ryan M Niemiec; Danny Wedding (2013). Positive Psychology at the Movies: Using Films to Build Virtues and Character Strengths. Hogrefe Verlag. pp. 347–. ISBN 978-1-61676-443-2. 
  2. ^ La Tête en friche. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2013, from Wikipedia website:
  3. ^ 1900, C. J. (n.d.). 玛格丽特午后的小诗[A poem of My afternoons with Margueritte]. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from Douban website:

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