Thursday, December 10, 2009

C'était un Rendezvous

"Yes, I was scared. I was scared of running out of film."


Speaking of car chases in beautiful European cities, I first came across this short film by Claude Lelouch a couple of years ago. The story goes that Lelouch had just finished directing Si C'était à Refaire, and at the end of the shoot still had some extra  film and a car-mounted camera. After Paris officials denied him a permit to close the required streets for the shoot he decided to take his chances at 5:30 in the morning. Limited by the short capacity of the  reel, Lelouch only had 9 minutes of film to take the whole shot. Driving his 6.9 liter Mercedes-Benz 450SEL he traversed Paris from the Porte Dauphine exit off the Boulevarde Périphérique to the Sacré Cœur going the wrong way down one-way streets in Montmartre, ignoring red lights, and jumping curbs to avoid garbage trucks. According to Lelouch the most dangerous point of the trip was a blind corner at the Louvre issuing into the Rou de Rivoli where he positioned an assistant with a walkietalkie (afterwords discovered to be disfunctional). Lelouch was arrested following the showing of the film and the footage passed the next few decades almost unknown. It was re-released on DVD in 2003.



A map of the film's route:

Bd Périphérique (exits at Porte Dauphine) - Av Foch - Pl Charles-de-Gaulle - Av des Champs-Elysées - Pl de la Concorde - Quai des Tuileries - Pl du Carrousel - R de Rohan - Av de l'Opera - Pl de l'Opéra - Fromental Halévy - R de la Chausée d'Antin - Pl d'Estienne d'Orves - R Blanche - R Pigalle - Pl Pigalle - Bd de Clichy - (aborted turn at R Lepic) - R Caulaincourt - Av Junot - Pl Marcel Aymé - R Norvins - Pl du Tertre - R Ste-Eleuthère - R Azais - Pl du Parvis du Sacré Cœur.

...Ethically questionable, but with far more panache than these retards with too much money.