The director of the classic with Christian Clavier evokes the postman scene in Les Visiteurs.
“Sir, a Saracen! » is undoubtedly one of the most cult lines of French cinema. Jean-Marie Poiré details the famous scene of the destruction of the Post Office car in Visitorson the occasion of its rebroadcast, this Sunday on TF1 (just after Election night, 9:20 p.m.).
“The principle of the Visitors is to confront people from the Middle Ages with modernity. Putting them in the presence of a car and a black man (a “Saracen” for them, the enemy of their time) was unstoppable. So I was pissed when John Hughes removed this scene from the American remake. “It’s too racist, he told me. You, in France, you don’t care, but we are very fussy about it. As if we hadn’t thought of that! You have to be an idiot not to understand that history justifies it. »
“The reverse shot of the scene in the forest was shot in another part of the Oise and at another time. In reality, this part is 200 meters from the setting of the crypt. Producer of my films, I try to think in terms of economy. I always tell my assistants to think of the places according to the possibility of shooting indoors or outdoors. If the weather is changeable, I go from one set to another. »
“When we shot The Visitors, a new camera had just come out. It allowed, via an incorporated electronic system and a remote control, to directly modify the speed of the camera. It was extremely convenient. Before, you would set this speed when stopped, spin, and then repeat the process to change. It was not fluid in the image. There, I was able to speed up Jacquouille’s run in the forest (to produce a cartoon effect) and slow it down naturally when he approaches Godefroy to talk to him. »
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“The horse came from the stable of Mario Luraschi. With this kind of trained animal, you should never shout “engine!” out of the blue, otherwise it gets excited. Usually, until he’s ready, I whisper “camera” or “let’s go”. There, I don’t know what came over me, I yelled “engine!”. Disoriented, he started running in all directions. It was magical. It adds weirdness to the background. »
“I liked the idea of the car having a crest that evokes a hero crest. La Poste accepted and lent us a car – the one that runs, at first. There are two others, donated by Renault, which we rigged for demolition. We had indeed tried to hit it in preparation to see what it gave: it actually hurts the hands very badly for any result! Before turning, we therefore “broken” the cars, hiding the traces caused by a thin layer of yellow paint. »
“Théophile Sowié, who plays the postman, was charming and a very good actor. When he scurries off furiously, however, it’s not a quid. The real mass of weapons sent by Jean Reno in the direction of the car bounced off the windshield instead of bursting it and almost hit Théophile who was scared of his life. This is obviously the take that I kept even if we corrected things for the connections. »
“I generally shoot with two cameras: it allows for different sizes and very good connections with the actors. For this scene, however, I had an obsession: to finish it during the day because the good weather was not going to last. So I did what I often do in such cases, that is to say take a camera in hand and multiply the close-ups. This kind of camera is not stable but I knew that the shots would be short and energetic and would not disturb the spectators. »
Visitors will return tonight on TF1. Trailer :
Christian Clavier is the only actor to have exceeded 10 million admissions at the box office 4 times