Check Out This Cool Short Film About Illegally Racing Through Paris. Real Stuff With Arrests And All!

Check Out This Cool Short Film About Illegally Racing Through Paris. Real Stuff With Arrests And All!

(Words by Scott Liggett) I came across this short film, “C’etait Un Rendez-vous” while watching Youtube videos on car chase movies. Made in the great tradition of guerilla film making of the 1970’s. It was shot in the city of Paris at the break of dawn in August 1976 while most of the city still slept. There were no permits, no police blocking traffic, nothing to prevent an accident, This pulse pounding film gives us a crazy view of flying through the old narrow streets at break neck speeds.

The director/producer/driver was Claude Lelouch wanted to make a a fast driving film in a single take with the camera mounted on the bumper of a car to put you right in the action. Loosely translated “C’etait un Rende-vous” means “it was a date” It was said he covered almost 11 kilometers through one of the busiest and crowded cities in the world in just 8 minutes with all traffic laws tossed out of the window the second the gas pedal was smashed. As you will see he flies through tons of red lights, skeetering past trucks, cars, buses and even pedestrians with the narrowest of margins, as he flies to make his rendevous on the other side of town.
While the actual car making the run was a Mercedes 450SEL with the big 6.9 ltr V8, the beautiful sounds you hear are from a 1967 Ferrari 275GTB’s V12, For a very long time, people thought that was the car used to make this film. There is no music or other annoying sound effects, just the viceral sound of a racing engine and tires desperately trying to keep grip of the road. So turn up the volume to hear this glorious morning music.
How illegal was this movie to make? Once it was screened for the first time, the French police immediately arrested Lelouch for reckless driving. But, the charges were later dropped.


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3 thoughts on “Check Out This Cool Short Film About Illegally Racing Through Paris. Real Stuff With Arrests And All!

  1. MGBChuck

    Like it. (IMO the sound is way faster then the actual speed, doubt a 100mph was hit) though was faster than any of the speed limits (double maybe), was a hairball stunt for sure.

  2. Jay Bree

    There’s an incident at the Arc de Triomphe you’ll never see again in France… a car STOPPING in a French traffic circle!

  3. Ricky Harper

    I’ve watched this wonderful film a number of times over the years. The audio dubbing (especially given the technology when made) is very good. There are some clues though that the car is not going as fast as the video makes it seem. Doing the math (11km at 8 mins) I come up with ~50mph avg. Certainly fast through a city, but not wild speeds. There are shots where he passes a car on a long straight and it appears he is going 10-15mph faster, whereas the audio has the beautiful V12 engine wound out in 4th. Another scene he is in 3rd or 4th and blowing through a curvy and tight town center, and he never lifts, I don’t think so. Nonetheless, great video.


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