October 15, 2007

A French movie even non-snobs can enjoy

A classic piece of French cinema, C'etait un rendez-vouz by Claude Lelouch. Eight and a half minutes of great fun on the streets of Paris.

For those who don't know the story behind the video, Lelouch had rented a special gyro-stabilized camera for a movie he was working on when he decided to hook it up to the front of his car and have a little fun in Paris. He didn't talk much about how it was done, which led to much speculation and helped build the mythic sense of it all. Recently he spilled the beans, as you can see in this interview (if you're one of those snobbish French-speaking types).

So it wasn't a Ferrari 275GTB after all, it was Lelouch's own Mercedes 450SEL 6.9. He used his Mercedes precisely because of its new suspension system, which allowed for the smooth cinematograpy. Lelouch raced the Ferrari over the exact same route later just to record the soundtrack and dub it onto the film to make it seem more exciting. I've gotta admit, it works. I was surprised to learn the Ferrari 275 was around $10,000 when it was released; the Mercedes 450 6.9 was over $40,000.

He also didn't hire a professional Formula 1 racer, but drove the car himself. And if you think his driving seems quite reckless, that's only because you've never seen Parisians driving before. I know there are other videos out there that show people hauling ass around city streets or open roads; the difference is as Lelouch stated: this film tells a story. It's not terribly sophisticated, just the time-old tale of a man desperate to reach his girl. But it's enough to stay with you long after you've forgotten 'ghost riders' racing through Belgium for no reason at all.

Posted by: wahhaw at 02:09 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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