Le Mans Classic 2014 - Bonus and other stories of Drive-In movies
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Le Mans Classic 2014 - Bonus and other stories of Drive-In movies

In collaboration with MK2, the seventh edition of the Le Mans Classic (July 4th-6th) will bring back the Drive-In. Here are some stories before watching the films that will be shown on July 4th and 5th.

Three films, a documentary and a short will be shown on an inflatable screen installed near the Dunlop bridge in Drive-In style: with seating either in an authentic Ford Mustang or in a lawn chair.

A Man and a Woman (1966) & Rendezvous (1976), directed by Claude Lelouch – In 1966, "A Man and a Woman" put Jean-Louis Trintignant in the role of a widower auto racer who meets a movie script supervisor (Anouk Aimée), herself the widow of a stuntman. The film won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Nephew of Maurice Trintignant, winner at Le Mans in 1954 in a Ferrari, Jean-Louis himself competed at the 1980 24 Hours in a Porsche 935 K3 (retired). Filmed 10 years later, the short film "Rendezvous" is a little more than eight minutes long and presents a high-speed crossing of Paris in real time, from the exit of the Porte Dauphine beltway to the Sacré-Cœur. It was filmed by Claude Lelouch himslef at the wheel of his personal Mercedes 450 SEL, equipped with a fixed camera at the level of the front bumber. Then the director retraced the same route in a Ferrari 275 GTB so as to add in post-production the sound of its engine to the film of his 450 SEL.
1966 saw the first Ford victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the New Zealander duo Chris Amon-Bruce McLaren. Ten years later, Jacky Ickx won his third victory in La Sarthe at the wheel of a Porsche 936 shared with Gijs van Lennep.

Bullitt (directed by Peter Yates, 1968) & Le Mans (directed by Lee H. Katzin, 1971) – Hero of these two films, Steve McQueen was one of the highest paid actors in the world in 1968. That year, "Bullitt" was his first movie as a producer, via his company Solar that he had just created. He played Frank Bullitt, a San Francisco cop. The unique architecture of the city played its part perfectly in the big chase scene between McQueen's Mustang Fastback and the Dodge Charger driven by Bill Hickman, the best car stuntman in Hollywood at the time. The two cars were prepared by Carroll Shelby, winner at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans in an Aston Martin. Also, Jacqueline Bisset, the lead actress, drove a Porsche 356 C. In 1970, having been prevented from racing by his insurers, McQueen filmed the 24 Hours for his movie "Le Mans." After the actual race, filming extended into November, with the director John Sturges' departure to be replaced by Lee H. Katzin. In 1971, the film's release was a huge commercial successs far from ruining its actor-producer. The subtle mix of points of view of the 1970 24 Hours and the scenes filmed at real speed give "Le Mans" an authentic feel which makes it one of the best motorsports movies ever made.
In 1970, Porsche won its first victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the 917 K of Richard Attwood-Hans Herrmann.

Weekend of a Champion (directed by Roman Polanski, 1972) – This documentary is the perfect counterpoint to "Le Mans" and rediscovers Formula 1 in the 1970s. "Weekend of a Champion" was filmed in 1971, the year McQueen's movie was released. Roman Polanski portrayed Jackie Stewart during the journey to his second world title. The Scot only competed once in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1965, at the wheel of an experimental turbine Rover-BRM shared with Graham Hill.
In 1971, the year "Weekend of a Champion" was filmed, Le Mans was won by the Porsche 917 K of Gijs van Lennep and Helmut Marko. They established a distance record (5,335km at an average of 222km/h) that would not be beaten until 2010.

Friday, July 4th
9:30 p.m.: A Man and a Woman
11:55 p.m.: Rendezvous
12:00 a.m.: Bullitt

Saturday, July 5th
9:30 p.m.: Le Mans
12:05 a.m.: Rendezvous
12:15 a.m.: Weekend of a Champion