Claude Lelouch's "Rendezvous"

Hang on!This isn't so much a film as a full-on fang through Paris in a Ferrari 275 GTB. My old man used to have a business renting out management training and motivational films. He had the Australian rights to this film. The trainers used to put it on when they thought the young executives/middle management were bored or losing concentration in a session.

It's only a short film - nine minutes. But those nine minutes are fairly intense. "C'était un Rendezvous" ("It was a Rendezvous") was made in 1976. Thirty years ago. But it holds up well. Nothing like it had been done before and nothing like it has been attempted since. This is a new DVD version made from the old 35mm film stock restored and remastered.

The story goes that Lelouch had made enough money from his classic "Un Homme et une Femme"("A Man & a Woman") to buy himself a Ferrari, which he proceeded to thrash around Paris in.

Whilst shooting another film, a new bit of equipment was being used - a gyro stabilised camera mount. Lelouch then came up with the idea for "C'était un Rendezvous". The camera used only had a ten minute film magazine - hence the mad dash to Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre.

On first showing, Lelouch was supposedly arrested. In his defence, he proclaimed he had taken all possible precautions. This included convincing a Formula One driver to helm the car (he refused to name him).

Lelouch's electrifying 9 minutes drive has to be seen to be believed. No car chase on film has, or ever will, come close. The reality of no special effects, edits, or blocking off streets is terrifying.

"It makes Bullitt look like a cartoon" --- Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear, BBC)

"A once in a lifetime experience, it can never be repeated - no one is that insane!"Now put your helmet on, buckle up your full-race harness and go for a fairly lively drive across Paris with a 35mm camera fixed to the front of a Ferrari. Oh...and turn the sound up.

I do know two pieces of trivia about this. One - Lelouch had arranged for a mate to stand guard with a walkie-talkie ("talkie-walkie" in French) at one of the more dangerous intersections at the bottom of le Champs Elysées. If there was no call it meant that Lelouch could go for it. And he did. At 150k.p.h through the intersection. He found out later that the walkie-talkie had flat batteries and the mate couldn't call even if he wanted to.

And Two - Lelouch had to appear in front of the Parisian Commissaire de Police for a please explain. The Police Chief berated him for the number of road rules he'd broken and read the riot act. But in the end he said his children were great fans so there'd be no charges.

Try counting the number of red lights he runs for a start. The French are good at that.

"Rendezvous" is available on DVD. Try this mob - rendezvousdvd.com There's also more interesting facts and trivia on that site.

Posted on Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 05:49PM by Registered CommenterMalcolm Lambe | Comments6 Comments