Henri Charriere is an accomplished safe breaker

Author : nanoninano48
Publish Date : 2021-03-17


Henri Charriere is an accomplished safe breaker

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There have been many rich people who have become victims of his theft. Hence, his name is quite well known. In the underworld criminal world. In Paris, France. In the 1930's.

However, as clever as the squirrel jumps, it finally catches up. In 1931, the figure with the nickname Papillon was arrested by the police. Not because of theft, but murder. He is accused of having killed a pimp. The court later sentenced him: With a prison sentence. Lifetime!

Papi, as the former navy soldier was usually called, was then sent by boat: To a prison in the middle of nowhere. Its very far from France. To be precise, at St-Laurent-du-Maroni, French Guiana. Which is located in South America.

The prison in the French colony is known as an inescapable location. Alias ​​is very difficult to escape from there. Papillon, along with several other prisoners, did escape. However, in the end, he was caught again.

As an additional punishment, for trying to escape earlier, Papillon was then thrown into an isolation cell. Which is in the form of a small room. No windows. He absolutely can't get out of there. For two years!

Many prisoners went crazy. After leaving the solitary cell. However, this is not the case with Papillon. He's still sane. In fact, several times tried to run away (again). Although the end was the same: Caught (again).


As the ultimate punishment, Papillon is finally sent to Devil's Island. A remote coral island. Which is in the middle of the sea. Near French Guiana. Which is the dumping ground for convicts who have gone mad.

On Devil's Island, there are no prison wardens to guard. Because it is impossible. To escape from there without a boat. However, impossible is nothing for Papillon. In 1941, he finally managed to escape (again). This time, using a "raft". In the form of a big sack. Which contains coconut shells.

After floating for a few days, the ocean currents then carried Papillon to the mainland. He was stranded on a beach. To be precise, on the territory of Venezuela. Long story short, in 1944, Papi finally became a citizen of Venezuela. Its also located in South America.

In 1969, Henri Charriere, now aged, returned to France. The man who was born in 1906 intends to publish a semi-biographical novel. Which tells of his life experiences. When escaping from prison in the middle of nowhere. The dramatic one earlier. Which he called Papillon. In accordance with his nickname.

In 1970, the French government finally abolished Papillon's sentence. At that time his status was still a fugitive. However, shortly after becoming a free man, Papi breathed his last. 1973. In Madrid, Spain. At the age of 66. After battling throat cancer that he suffered.

The nickname Papillon, which is also the title of the novel, in French, means butterfly. He was called by that name because of a tattoo. Drawing of a butterfly. That is immortalized under his neck.

According to Papillon, the semi-biographical novel he wrote earlier, 75% of his stories are based on real events. While the rest is in the form of fictional spices. Which he composed himself. So that the story is more interesting. Papillon also denies murder. According to him, he had been framed and slandered by his enemies.

However, many researchers doubt the Papillon story earlier. They assume: There are more stories of fiction than actual events. In fact, according to French government records, Henri Charriere was once imprisoned. In French Guiana. However, he was never exiled on Devil's Island. I don't know which one is right.

In Papillon's novel, there are indeed several fictional characters. The one who got the big portion was Louis Dega. A banker. The one told is wearing glasses, thin, small and weak, but rich. Who was thrown in jail for fraud. Who ended up becoming Papillon's best friend.

Dega, at first, needed Papillon's help. As his bodyguard while in prison. Many of the other prisoners were after Dega. That's a lot of money. In fact, they did not hesitate to kill him.

Apart from fiction or non-fiction, Papillon's novel (1969) is a bestseller in the market. In fact, it sold up to 1.5 million copies. And translated into 21 different languages ​​in the world. This was followed by a sequel. The one entitled Banco (1973). Which tells the story of Papillon's life after settling in Venezuela.

Therefore, not long after it was published, Hollywood film producers became interested. To lift the story to the big screen. By hooking up the legendary screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, to adapt the script. The film, also titled Papillon, was finally released in 1973.

The film, starring Steve McQueen (as Papillon) and Dustin Hoffman (as Louis Dega), received positive responses from critics. It was also a box office success. Able to earn USD 53 million. With a capital of USD 13.5 million. Which includes the jumbo budget at that time.

The second Papillon film, aka a remake of the first film, was released in 2017. And was shown in Cinepolis and CGV Cinemas Indonesia. In 2018 ago. With two stars: Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek.

The appearance of the two well-known actors was, in fact, quite neat. Hunnam plays Papillon. Meanwhile, Malek became Louis Dega. The chemistry between the two was quite thick. They become the soul of this 136 minute film.

However, unfortunately, Hunnam and Malek's good acting was not complemented by an interesting story. The grooves presented by Papillon seem flat. Flat. And go slow. In fact, it feels boring in the middle.

Director Michael Noer also seems to emphasize the violent aspects of prison too much. And ignore the elements of the drama. The film Papillon, which gets an R rating (aka for adults only), does present many brutal scenes. The one who is bleeding. Starting from punching, stabbing, to execution of the death penalty. Using the guillotine. The legendary one.

As a result, the response from critics was less positive. Indeed, not classified as bad. However, it is quite far from being compared to the first Papillon film. Or when compared to The Shawshank Redemption (1994).



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