Report from Paris, Éric Amiens
An evening dedicated to Jean-Michel Martial who died on October 17 at the age of 67 was organized by the Conseil Représentatif des Français d’Outre-Mer this Wednesday, October 23 at the seat of the Regional Council of Paris.
“It is a very great loss, Jean Michel was a committed activist for the French Overseas. He chaired the Conseil Représentatif des Français d’Outre-Mer, CRÉFOM“, said Patrick Karam, Vice-President of the Regional Council of Île-de-France and friend of the actor.
During this tribute his friends related his career. Jean-Michel Martial was born in 1952 in Madagascar. The actor became famous in 1984 thanks to the film by Haitian director, Raoul Peck, “L’Homme sur les Quais”. He also played, among others, the role of Superintendent Grégoire Lamarck in the television series called “Profilage” on TF1, in France.
Guadeloupean actress Firmine Richard spoke about the comedian’s courage and fighting spirit who, until the last moment, worked on the Kanoas Festival, a Caribbean arts event that he created, and whose fourth edition will take place next November in the Parisian region.
According to Luc Saint-Éloy, actor and his companion in arms in the film “1802, l’épopée Guadeloupéenne“ by director Christian Lara, “Jean Michel Martial is here, with us, he is not dead, he is also definitely in the Guadeloupean landscape at Boulevard des Héros in Pointe-à-Pitre”.
Tony Mango, from the Éritaj association, who has been defending the Creole language in Paris for a long time, talked about the actor’s attachment to Caribbean culture and his kindness.
A return on the land of the ancestors in the Caribbean
Those present were able to see film clips shown on this occasion. Poetry was also at the meeting. Poems by Aimé Césaire and Sonny Rupaire were read.
Martinican opera singer, Fabrice Di Falco was also on the stage as was flautist Max Cilla who performed “Habitation Rochelle”, a title known in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Personalities from the Overseas territories associations like Gisèle Bourquin (Femmes Au-delà des Mers), José Pentoscrope (CIFORDOM), Emmanuel Gordien (CM98), Simplice Marie-Louise (Les cœurs joyeux de l’Outre-mer), writers like Simone Schwarz-Bart and Alain Foix, historian Frédéric Régent were also in the crowd for this moving tribute.
A religious ceremony was held in the morning at 10:30 in the church of Saint-Roch in Paris, called “the church of the artists”. Cultural personalities such as Firmine Richard (actress), Greg Germain (actor and director of Théâtre d’outre-mer en Avignon – Toma) as well as politicians like François Hollande (former President of the Republic), Jean-Marc Ayraud (former Prime Minister) and Victorin Lurel (Senator) attended the funeral of the actor.
The mass was followed by a Buddhist ceremony and then by the cremation of the actor in the crematorium of the Père Lachaise cemetery. Jean-Michel Martial’s ashes will be placed in the family vault in Guadeloupe on November 1, on All Saints’ Day.