Leading article: Love and hate

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The French are known for their unfathomable statements, as football fans will remember from Eric Cantona's musings about seagulls and trawlers. But we Anglo-Saxons had always assumed that the problem was one of cultural translation. We didn't know what they were going on about, but we assumed that they did. Well now we know otherwise. The incomprehension is more than mutual; it exists between compatriots too. How else can we explain the chasm of understanding between Gérard Depardieu and Juliette Binoche? Last month the actor lashed out in an interview saying the actress was a performer who "has nothing, absolutely nothing". Now Mme Binoche, usually known for her sweetness on and off screen, has suggested M. Depardieu might be suffering from psychological problems.

Maybe it's because she has won the Oscar which he has always been denied. Or perhaps there is a clue in the film which she is in Britain to promote. Certified Copy is about the communication between a man and a woman in which, Mme Binoche has said, "we are constantly stepping around each other in this ornate ritualised way. It's like a dance, isn't it?" M. Depardieu would doubtless disagree. But then he is probably supposed to. Love-hate relationships are like that.

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