The film, which was shot in Paris in the early hours of the morning, is a breakneck spin through the city streets, filmed from a subjective angle by a camera mounted on the front of the car, which we never see.
The race starts at Porte Dauphine, from a tunnel on the ring road, and passes in front of well-known sights in the centre of Paris, from the Arc de Triomphe to the Opéra Garnier, from Place de la Concorde to the Champs-Élysées – finishing in Montmartre, by the parapet in front of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur. At this point the driver gets out of the car just in time to sweep an attractive blonde into his arms.
During its mad dash, the car terrifies pedestrians, frightens the pigeons and breaks just about all the rules of the highway code, disregarding traffic lights and one way streets, mounting the pavement and doing some dangerous overtaking. We never see the car, but the roar of the engine is clearly that of a Ferrari 275 GTB, although other sources say it was a Mercedes 450 SEL.
The movie, which was not cut, and lasts the length of a single roll of film, became an icon of the so-called “cinéma-vérité”, and its introductory statement is an explicit declaration of this: “le film que vous allez voir a été réalisé sans aucun trucage ni accéléré.”
The director was accused of taking no account of the lives of animals and pedestrians, and encouraging viewers to disregard the rules of the highway code and civil life.
Sounds smashing, doesn’t it? Watch “C’était un rendez-vous” below.