Not content with acting, you decided to plague the shiny happy people of France with your own creation, a rigid and humourless staging of Molière's ferocious attack on religious hypocrisy, Le Tartuffe (1984). Your film, austere though not devoid of visual quirks, such as the clash between your tarty make-up and your black biggot outfit, didn't agree with French critics' sensitive stomachs, and they panned it.
The end of the 80s were a reasonable vintage, and Claude Berri blessed you with the rôle of the hunchback in Jean de Florette (1986), a moving adaptation of Marcel Pagnol's classic. The overwhelming shadow of the great Raimu (writer and director Pagnol's favorite interpreter) looming over you made your part even harder to play, but you met the challenge with a tear-jerking performance. You came back to Blier with the grating 1986 Tenue de Soirée (where you played insecure Michel Blanc's junkie whore), and acted in another great Pialat, Sous Le Soleil De Satan (Cannes' 1986 Palme d'Or). Cinematographer Bruno Nuytten's first directed film, Camille Claudel, showcased an extraordinary performance by Isabelle Adjani as 19th century pedantic poet Paul Claudel's misunderstood sister. The film also displayed your barely tolerable act as Camille Claudel's paunchy and aging lover, sculptor Auguste Rodin.
The weight of years was starting to have an unforgiving effect on your increasingly plump person, and your booming wine business didn't help. You drank heavily, partied loudly, and rode your motorbikes carelessly, multiplying driving accidents and inebriated appearances on French talk-shows. In a word, you'd gone from fit to fat, and people started calling you «gros Gégé».