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This Weird, Blasé French Car Chase Scene Is A Must-See

We know French film director Claude Lelouch as the director of C'était un Rendez-vous, but in 1966 the world knew him for Un homme et une Femme, a romantic drama set partially at the Monte Carlo Rally. Twenty years later, he followed it with this weird chase.

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In the 1986 sequel, Un Homme et une Femme, 20 Ans Deja (A Man and a Woman, Twenty Years Later), Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant reprise their roles as, yes, a man and a woman. But the thing we care most about is the strange motoring scene in the beginning. Out of context, it looks like a chase among blasé French intellectuals who disagree over Baudrillard's theory of simulacra and simulation.

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But as the scene builds, the increasingly violent clashes between stunt drivers messing around in a Lancia Thema, Audi 100, BMW 528, Mercedes 190E, Peugeot 505, Renault 25, Saab 900 Turbo are engaging, and while Lelouch never takes it over the top — like some famous chase-scene directors (looking at you, Frankenheimer) — he has a real feel for car action.

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DISCUSSION

Little know fact, but Rendezvous was a practice run for a pivotal scene in his upcoming film, Le Chat et la souris (Cat and Mouse), a rarely seen film. In it a police inspector tries to prove the wife could have gotten across Paris in short period of time to murder her husband and return home. First he tries it with a car (sound familiar?), then a motorcycle (makes the car look tame), and finally a boat down the Seine. I loved this film mostly for these scenes but haven't been able to find a copy for ages. So keep an eye out for it and if you find a copy you'll understand Rendezvous much better. You're welcome!