C’était un rendez-vous

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I’m sure most of us aren’t exactly up with our French cinema history, but we are all familiar with the film C’était un rendez-vous by filmmaker Claude Lelouch. A ten minute fast blast through the deserted streets of Paris at 5.45am one Sunday morning in August 1976, the film has become the automotive cult classic. Strapping on a Go Pro, driving too fast and then uploading it to Youtube isn’t anything special today, but it was groundbreaking in the 70’s.

Legend surrounds this film and at the time of its release it was unknown who the driver was, Lelouch’s starring role only becoming public knowledge in the late 90’s. As it turned out the car was not a Ferrari, rather Lelouch’s Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9, dubbed with the sound of his 275GTB. The film highlights a deserted Paris like will never be seen again – even in the wee hours, it’s far too busy now to film another Rendez-vous.

The title translates to “It was a date”, with Lelouch giving himself ten minutes (the length of a single roll of film), to race across Paris to Place du Parvis du Sacre Coeur in the arty Montmarte district to meet his girlfriend Gunilla Friden, Miss Sweden 1968.

fig12DSC_0060While in Paris, and in honor of this groundbreaking film, a visit to the finishing point was necessary. A lot has changed since that morning in 1976, yet it all looked strangely familiar.

DSC_0056Sure, there are far more people about now. But it’s unmistakeably the same.

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