Une drôle de bonne soeur et son journal

Thanks to Charles Mayer’s Fancy Robot posts, we know that all the filming in Paris took place during the summer of 1985. It’s fun to look for such things as movie placards and magazines incidentally caught on film that definitively date the shot. Here we see the mysterious man-in-black (Jean-Claude Cotillard) in Leçon 40. He’s at a table at Fouquet’s near the one at which Mireille, Robert, Hubert and Jean-Pierre are sitting. Just earlier he had appeared to be a spy who alternately blinked his eyes so as to spell «zut» in Morse code. Now, as Prof. Capretz says: «Le drôle de type qui faisait du morse en clignant ses yeux a disparu et a été remplacé par une bonne soeur qui fait du morse avec sa cornettejean-claude.jpg».

Bizarre, bizarre…

Note the newspaper he’s holding. It’s La Croix, a daily Catholic newspaper (le journal correct pour une soeur). The date on the masthead is far too small to read, but the headline is plain: «Jean-Paul II, du Kenya au Maroc».

In less than 30 seconds Google finds me the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops page with the dates of all of John Paul II’s trips outside of Italy. Le Pape traveled to Togo, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Zaire, Kenya, and Morocco from August 8-19, 1985. The headline indicates that John Paul was on the final leg of this trip, traveling between Kenya and Morocco. Thus it seems likely that the date of this newspaper, and hence the day of filming, is probably 18 August 1985, plus or minus a day.

I’d love to hear about details in other episodes that date them.

And oh, yes, I have a life, I swear!


7 Réponses

  1. Lesson 37 has a fascinating bit in which the « man in black » is reading a copy of Le Figaro with the banner headline: « Affaire Greenpeace: Ou est le verite? » That doesn’t help to pin down the time any more precisely than the bit about John Paul 2’s visit to Kenya, unless of course one is willing to search Le Figaro headlines from around August ’85, but it’s neat to catch a glimpse of the Rainbow Warrior investigation as an ongoing event.

  2. Vicki,
    Charles Mayer really should put more of FIA on his site. At least two of the videos, Skin Horse and Quand tu le voudras are serious, even grim, as opposed to the wholesome, delightful and dry FIA. Perhaps his acting has moved over the decades in that direction, but FIA seemed to be so natural both for him and Valerie that one almost forgot it was a performance and believed that he was a Yalie abroad.

  3. That’s the day i was born!!

  4. I completely missed that images section when I looked at his site. Thanks for pointing that out. Has anyone seen any of those films?

  5. The Charles Mayer website does have references to FIA in the images section. There are pictures of Charles Mayer and Valerie Allain that are credited to French in Action. I am only up to lesson 18 so I don’t recognize several of the pictures (the small airplane, the Indiana Jones outfit, the helmet, etc.)

  6. Thanks for the tip! I added a link to it under « The Cast. » It’s a wonderful page with plenty of interesting film and audio clips. But no mention of FIA in his biography? Sacrebleu!

  7. Speaking of Charles Mayer, he has his own website. For you hardcore fans of Robert, you can see him at http://www.charlesmayer.ca.

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