Jean Gabin and Normandy. Matthias Moncorger reveals in his book a “sensitive” father, a peasant from Orne, in love with horses.

Matthias Moncorger, son of Jean Gabin, together with Patrick Glatre publishes an excellent book with Martinière’s editions about this great French actor who personifies the 20th century. His roles were sometimes inspired by his life in Normandy, between his farm in Bonfoy, in the Orne and his passion for horses. A sensitive portrait of an actor, but above all a caring father.

He chose a life away from the limelight. He doesn’t really like Paris. His playground is Normandy, where he finds his horses and newly born foals.

The passion that comes to him… “According to youhe said laughing Of course it’s from my father! Voice, silhouette, cap, Matthias Monkorzhe can hardly hide who put his foot in the stirrup, they are so similar.

In his book*, soberly titled Jean Gabin, Matthias tells anecdotes that reveal a lot about a character we thought we knew.

Dad was very sensitive and very shy. He was eternal torment. He was afraid of everything

Matthias Moncorge

The reader will learn, for example, that Gabin was afraid of the horses he admired so much. “He didn’t get too close. In fact, he was afraid that we would get hurt, explains Matthias Moncorger, but he loved it.

Jean Gabin also said:“You know, having a mistress, you have to lie. It’s difficult, it’s boring, it annoys me. My mistresses are my horses, at least they don’t talk.”

Matthias Moncorger spent years with him studying horses. “What he loved was breeding, crossing. You know, we are big dreamers. Every year we hope to give birth to a crack that will win a big prize.” The actor even buys the racetrack at Moulin-la-Marche in Orne, which bears his name.

In the 1950s, after the war, this naval gunner, who had also joined his unit in Cherbourg in 1939, decided to invest in land. This safe haven comforts him.

“After the war, I realized that my acting side had fallen and that this job could fail me at any”explains Jean Gabin at the microphone, Leon Zitron.

He also realizes a childhood dream at 48. Jean Moncorger, his real name, buys house in ruins and created the domain of La Pichoniere, which he nicknamed: Moncorgerie. On his farm, of course, there are mares, as well as two hundred and thirty cows. It is in these lands that the hero grand illusion shows.

You know, this generation survived two wars. He was afraid there would be a third, so with his chickens, his cows, and his rabbits, he told himself we couldn’t starve. at that time it was important to eat.

Fernandel, who advises him to invest in stone, he replies “stone crumbles, earth remains”. When he comes to visit him, his friend, screenwriter Michel Audiard, even not without malice will point to “And to think that a man with such bad faith managed to settle in a village called …. Bonnefoy. A shame”.The roosting father who never missed a holiday in Normandy

Matthias Moncorger, the youngest son, fondly remembers his protective father. The most beautiful role he covets? Have kids. “He was 45 when my first sister was born, and I was 51.”

Since then, his acting life has changed. He considers it a matter of honor never to shoot during the holidays he spends between Brittany, Orne and Deauville to go to the hippodrome. “In business, he was the only one who could afford it. The turn, as we see fit, was not made, explains Matthias Moncorger. The history of the trip says a lot about the guy.

We always left at the end of June, before people, and returned after, to avoid people on the roads and especially so that there was no danger. Mom drove us to the station wagon. He was driving three kilometers behind. Just in case mom breaks down. And when she told him “And if it’s you, then who will break?” He replied: “It’s impossible”

Report by Pauline Latruitte, Laurine Vele, Regis Saint-Esteve, Fabrice Lefebvre

video length: 05min 22

Jean Gabin by Matthias Moncorger


In this sensitive and modest portrait, painted in four hands, the authors evoke half-words “This wound that never healed.”

Jean Gabin, who so admired the peasants, would feel rejected in the summer of 1962 when seven hundred angry farmers burst into his house, accusing him of hoarding land. Media trick to make all of France understand problems of the agricultural world.

Actor who hasn’t acted yet Horse, file a complaint. Two years later, he removes it in full audience at Alençon to appease the spirits. Just like meHe ends up leasing the land to young people.

“I filmed because I think it was all done under the sign of awkwardness. And in principle, awkwardness is not so reprehensible.he said as he left the courthouse.

The death blow occurred in the summer of 1976. Jean Gabin learned on TV that the FNSEA was going to compensate all farmers for drought losses. Except him. He then tells his son about it, whom he calls Fat Father.

“You see, Gro-Per, you are Moncorge for them, I will always be Gabin.”

The next day, he decides to sell his property. Jean Gabin will die in a month from leukemia.

I received an agricultural medal from François Mitterrand in 1992 or 1993. Like he got it through me. His ID card said “farmer”, not “actor”.

Since his voice has not yet finished inspiring us, you can listen again “Now I know” this song was written for him by Jean-Loup Dabadie. Where does the whole philosophy of Gabin come from.

* Book by Jean Gabin written by Patrick Glatre and Matthias Moncorger – Editions de La Martinière

* The Jean Gabin exhibition can be viewed until 10 July at the Espace Landowski in Boulogne-Billancourt. Clarification Commissioner: Patrick Glatr, Jean Gabin Specialist.

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