C’était un Rendezvous

I almost forgot about this short film. Pretty cool one-take flick. ((It seems that this type of film technique is an example of cinéma-vérité. Cinéma vérité is a style of documentary filmmaking, combining naturalistic techniques with stylized cinematic devices of editing and camerawork, staged set-ups, and the use of the camera to provoke subjects.)) Crazy driving skills for sure. I guess its true to the concept that “90% of life is just showing up.” ((As quoted from Woody Allen.))


C’était un Rendezvous (“It Was a Rendezvous”) is the creation of the French filmmaker Claude Lelouch in 1976. Using a Mercedes 450SEL early one August morning, Lelouch attached a camera to the bumper of the car and sped through the streets of Paris. (The sounds of a Ferrari 275 GTB were added in post-production.)

He gave the driver a set route from Porte Dauphine, through the Louvre, to the Basilica of Sacre Coeur, which is straight through the heart of Paris. The driver is still unknown to this day, because Lelouch was never able to obtain a permit to close the streets. The driver, who Lelouch told officials was an F1 racer, went over the speed limit and blew off many red lights.

When this film was first shown, Lelouch was arrested, and because of this, the footage has spent many years underground before it began to resurface on DVD a few years ago. Lelouch used a new technology of the time, a gyro stabilized camera mount, in order to mount the camera on the car. The problem with this is that the technology of the time only allowed for a ten minute film with this mount. Lelouch told his driver to rush because of this time limit, and the video itself is only about nine minutes. In our velocity graph, we used all footage of the car when it was in motion.