Culture

Francis Veber: Laughter from Pain

The veteran French comedy filmmaker Francis Veber, whose “Le Dîner de cons” was recently remade in Hollywood as “Dinner for Schmucks,” is a master of spoofing painful social anxiety and feelings of exclusion. His new memoir from Les éditions Robert Laffont, “Let This be our Secret,” addresses how Veber’s Jewish roots influenced his comedic skills.

Veber’s maternal grandmother, Marguerite Bernard, was the sister of the French Jewish humorist Tristan Bernard, who was deported to Drancy after the Nazis invaded France, only to be freed after powerful friends like Jean Cocteau objected. Veber’s father, Pierre-Gilles Veber, spent the war years hiding “at the back of our apartment, wearing his pajamas, desperately awaiting the Liberation.” Veber notes: “I was born in Neuilly to a Jewish father and Armenian mother; two genocides, two ensanguined wailing walls, all just to produce a comedian.”

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Francis Veber: Laughter from Pain

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