Meeting between Joseph Kosma and Juliette Gréco
Joseph Kosma and Juliette Gréco met on a television set. They talk about their meeting provoked by Juliette Gréco who offered to Joseph Kosma to put Queneau (Si tu t'imagines), Sartre (Rue des blancs manteaux) and Desnos (La Fourmi) texts to music, and their long collaboration that followed. Gréco remembers the importance of the song Les feuilles mortes in his international career.
A conductor for the Berlin Opera during the 1920s, a partner of avant-garde artists such as Hanns Eisler, Kurt Weill and even Bertolt Brecht, with whom he shares both aesthetic and political beliefs - Joseph Kosma, born in Budapest, in Hungary, on 29 October 1905, is already a solid musician when he finds refuge in Paris in 1933 following the Nazi rise to power.
He meets the poet Jacques Prévert there in 1934 and starts a collaboration with him that will give birth to over 80 songs, from which several are masterpieces that immediately became part of the nation's patrimony (Les Feuilles Mortes, Barbara, En Sortant de l'Ecole). His songs having been sung by the biggest names in French variety music (Mouloudji, Juliette Gréco, Yves Montand), Kosma became, in a few years, poets' favourite musician (Desnos, Queneau) and he laid the stylistic foundations of intellectual left-bank variety music, which was both sophisticated and mass-appealing.
But, without a doubt, Kosma will have pushed the boldness of his aesthetic stakes furthest in cinema. A partner of the biggest French film-makers - Jean Renoir (The Crime of Monsieur Lange, (1935), The Grand Illusion (1937), Picnic on the Grass (1958)) and Marcel Carné (Jenny (1936), The Night Visitors (1942), Children of Paradise (1944-45) - Kosma will, up until the middle of the 1960's, develop a narrative and distant language, with great artistic ambition. Naturalised as a Frenchman in 1949, he died on 7 August 1969 in La Roche Guyon.