Home News France in turmoil mourns Francoise Hardy, a voice of melancholy and coldness

France in turmoil mourns Francoise Hardy, a voice of melancholy and coldness


It’s like Francoise HardyThis melancholic singer and songwriter with a certain French melancholic style quietly retreated in the political storm, because what interested her was never the hustle and bustle of power struggles, but the inner world of loneliness, betrayal and loss.

French President Emmanuel Macron The country was suddenly plunged into an unexpected legislative election campaignStill, French newspapers devoted much of their front pages to the news of Ms. Hardy’s death this week at age 80, praising her as an “icon” of French music.

For French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, the loss of “this unique and calm voice that inspired generations of French people” was unbearable. For Brigitte Bardot, “France has also lost the nobility, beauty, talent and elegance that she conveyed throughout her life.”

Ms. Hadi’s life seemed to have brought her country full circle, from her birth in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944, seven months before its liberation, when Paris was under air raid; to the end of a far-right party led by a man who Being despised Carnage may now be on the brink of power.

New Observer captured the general mood of confusion across the country, writing that Ms. Hardy was “wandering on a lost path” in the “late summer, late afternoon.” It went on to ask: “How do you say goodbye when you are about to embark on a journey?”

It was a play on her 1968 hit “Comment Te Dire Adieu?” (“How Should I Say Goodbye to You?”), which Macron also repeated in her honor. The real question seemed to be: to what could France possibly say goodbye?

Macron called early elections after a disastrous defeat to Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally in the European Parliament elections, which could lead to Marine becoming the dominant force in the National Assembly, which in turn could force Macron to break the taboo of the Fifth Republic and appoint a prime minister from Le Pen’s party in early July.

Known for her intelligence in her twinkling eyes and her often deadpan, almost detached delivery, Ms. Hardy entertained no illusions about life’s bitter surprises. She grew up with a single mother; her father was married to another woman. Success enchanted her but never confused her, because she retained the reserve and vulnerability that marked her allure.

Chic, slender, elegant, charming and elusive, she shot to fame at the age of 18 with the 1962 hit “Tous les Garçons et les Filles” (“All the Boys and Girls”), which sold 2.5 million copies and put her on the cover of Paris Match in early 1963.

The song has a stunningly simple lyrical style, with a minimalist guitar accompaniment, and tells the story of a young woman who is lonely and watches young couples “eye to eye, hand in hand”, walking carelessly towards tomorrow, while she feels miserable and haggard.

If there was any evidence that some things sound better when said in French, this song is it. “Les yeux dans les yeux, la main dans la main” could be translated like above, but at a high price.

Bob Dylan was obsessed with her; Mick Jagger was obsessed with her. The world was calling. So were movie roles. She toured. Fashion designers and great photographers sought to capture her quiet, teasing beauty. Her appearance in 1968 in a gold metallic minidress by the Spanish designer Paco Rabanne, like so many things in her life, evokes the word “iconic.”

Yet, by the end, Ms. Hardy was on a lonely path. She came to believe that passion was possessive and therefore inevitably destructive. In her 2004 song “Volunteer Gardener,” she wrote, “I’ll open my arms and let you fly,” words that expressed her view of the deeper love that comes with maturity.

She once said: “The melodies that move me most, the most beautiful, inevitably carry an element of melancholy that connects us to the sacred.”

She said her marriage to singer-songwriter Jacques Dutronc in 1981 marked more absence than togetherness, yet despite the pain expressed in many of their songs, they never divorced and always maintained a good relationship.

Perhaps her loneliness, contradictions, dignity, and elusive search for love were most poignantly captured in her 1973 song “Message Personnel,” written the same year her son Thomas Dutron was born:

I’m afraid you’re deaf.
I’m worried you might be a coward.
I’m afraid of being careless
Maybe I can’t tell you that I love you
But if one day you feel that you love me
Don’t think your memory will bother me
Run until you are out of breath
Come see me again.

With Ms. Hardy’s dignified death, an endangered France has lost something of its essence, and in the outpouring of tributes to her, people seem to be reaching across deep divisions for some kind of pillar of shared memory.

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