So that’s an essential film of popular cinema in France. On display Louis De Funès. And some scenes are shot in Collioure. Memories of the 60s with you Hélène Legrais.
A first thing, Hélène, for the youngest: what were the Branquignols?
A troupe of comic actors created at the Liberation by Robert Dhéry and Colette Brosset which saw the debut of Louis de Funès, Michel Serrault, Jacqueline Maillan, Micheline Dax, among others. For three decades, they have multiplied the shows often adapted into film. And, will you believe it, one of them “My aunt’s pen” was one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favourites!
And they came to shoot with us? It must have been animated!
There is even a queue on September 5, 1967 in front of the former premises of the Collioure gendarmerie station, behind the Post Office. The place has become the PC of the team preparing the shooting of “Little Bather”, the new film by Robert Dhéry.
After “Ah the beautiful bacchantes! “, “The pen of my aunt”, “The beautiful American” and “Go France! », the fine team of Branquignols will land on the Côte Vermeille, so of course everyone wants to be part of it! That’s good, the director needs 80 extras, including around twenty pretty young girls. These young ladies come parading around in bathing suits to try to catch the eye of the manager in order to be among the envied privileged who will spend even a few seconds, at the very back, in the field of the camera.
And Robert Dhéry on his side? Why did he choose the department?
Dhéry is in heaven: he has already spent holidays in Collioure and he loves it! “I knew that one day I would come and shoot a film there,” he explains simply. He likes the atmosphere of the small port, this atmosphere, he says, that you only find in the South. And he likes the Catalans. Here, he says, people are funny. Those who come as extras are for me collaborators, not a herd that we guide. They bring life, smiles and always the desire to do well. It’s wonderful to work in such conditions.
A love that the public returns to him: so many curious people flock to Collioure that the car parks are full. Yes, today it is usual, but at the time it was not. You even have to stretch a rope around the filming area so as not to be submerged. The decorators work on making a dirigible balloon; they are surrounded by a swarm of fascinated onlookers. The team is a little tense: on Wednesday it rains and filming must start the next day. Like the stars, the sun spares its effects and is long overdue. But on Thursday, September 7, it is there, nailed to the blue sky, to the clap of the director. Engine !