French Actor 'Offended' by Short-Stay Russian Visa

Richard (right) with Gerard Depardieu in the 1981 film La Chevre.

French comedy actor Pierre Richard was "a bit offended" by the short-stay single-entry visa that he received to attend the Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Vladivostok, where the actor had been invited as an honored guest.

"It doesn't simplify the process of coming to you," the actor told journalists Friday at a news conference, adding that the issue could thwart plans to bring his one-man show to Vladivostok.

"I hope that [the show] will happen, provided that they give me a normal visa," Richard said, Interfax reported.

The Russian government reportedly limited Richard's stay to a few days because he planned to visit the country while on tour.

Should his visa troubles continue, the actor could always take a leaf out of French star Gerard Depardieu's book. Depardieu, who collaborated with Richard on several hit comedies during the 1980s, became a Russian citizen in January to evade potential income tax hikes in his native country

Richard, 79, rose to fame as a gifted slapstick comedian, depicting hilariously naive heroes such as an unwitting spy in his breakthrough film, 1972's The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe.

The actor's memories of Vladivostok go back to the release of that film and a fan letter that he received from an 8-year-old resident of the city.

"It was very touching. In the letter it said: 'I saw your picture. I love you very much.' It has remained in my memory forever. After so many years I remember this, I hope that I'll be able to meet him," Richard said.

The 11th annual Pacific Meridian film festival opened on Sept. 7 with such luminaries as French virtuoso Isabelle Huppert and American star Michael Madsen in attendance.

This year, 20 films from 11 countries, including short and feature-length works, will compete for the festival's prizes.

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