Paris (AFP) - French acting legend Gerard Depardieu revealed he frequently turns to the Koran in search of "sensuality" in a book of reflections released on Thursday.
In "Monster", a look back at more than half a century on the stage and screen, the larger-than-life actor deplores what he calls a "lack of desire" in modern society.
But he finds what he is looking for in the Islamic holy book.
"In the description of Allah's paradise, there is a true vision of desire," he writes.
But in a reference to Islamic extremists using the Koran to justify their attacks, he stresses: "This has nothing to do with the image of paradise that half-wits who have never read the Koran have, thinking they'll be promised 72 virgins there."
At 68, Depardieu finds himself frequently looking towards death in a dark, at times bitter book that mingles accounts of his cinematic relationships with thoughts on his favourite writers.
"Death doesn't bother me," the Oscar-nominated actor writes, concluding: "Every day, every hour, at every moment, you must live."
Praising "the violence of excess" after a life that has certainly been full of it, he admits that he no longer has the "carefreeness of a forty-something or even a fifty-something".
"Monster" reflects on Depardieu's miserable, poverty-filled childhood in central France and his discovery of the theatre.
And after a career that has seen him act opposite everyone from Catherine Deneuve and Sophia Lauren to Kate Winslet, he details the encounters that changed his life.
There are the early meetings with theatre director Claude Regy and writer Marguerite Duras, to the later relationships with filmmakers like Francois Truffaut and Bernardo Bertolucci that would shape his career.
After controversially taking up residency in Belgium to escape high French taxes and then accepting a Russian passport, Depardieu returns to one of his favourite pastimes -- French-bashing.
He prefers "to be free than to be French", he writes, while adding: "It doesn't mean that I'm disowning my country."
Despite often leaning towards nihilism in his book, he says that in Russia's western Saransk region, where he has a home, he has discovered "how to have hope again".