Kaamelott, from TV series to movie

Comics Movie TV show
Kaamelott has established itself as a pop culture saga appreciated by many fans. Alexandre Astier gives his humorous version of the Arthurian myth of the Knights of the Round Table. A film and comic book version.

Kaamelott, a scathing and innovative series

It is in January 2005 that Kaamelott arrives on the small screen. A series broadcast on M6 that revolutionized the world of French series. Initially a fourteen-minute short film entitled Dies Irae – later the name of the production company – Kaamelott replaces Caméra Café in a short format for the channel’s prime time.

Alexandre Astier, writer-director and performer, surrounds himself with talented actors to stage the life of the court of Camelot. Famous for sheltering the knights of the round table dear to Chrétien de Troyes, the castle then knows short stories of the most farcical and funny. The comical situations and dialogues immediately appeal to the audience. Lovers of the series are becoming more and more numerous.

From the series to the comic book and the film

Kaamelott tome 1 by Alexandre Astier and Steven Dupré (Casterman)
Kaamelott tome 1 by Alexandre Astier and Steven Dupré (Casterman)

Between 2005 and 2009, M6 broadcast the episodes of the series. Compiled in books – from the first to the sixth – they allow the channel to beat audience records (between 12 and 16% of market share per episode).

Wanting to develop the universe of Kaamelott, Alexandre Astier declines them in comics from 2006. The director adapts the albums himself. He is then a scriptwriter and calls upon Steven Dupré for the graphic part.

As for a sequel to the series after its end, the creator does not consider it. It is more ambitious. He wants to continue the adventure in film. It took twelve years to discover the first part of the feature film in theaters.

Through the episodes and the first film, Kaamelott leaves the studios to settle for a while in real settings, between castle and lake, between Lyon and Haute-Savoie, between Rhône-Alpes and Massif Central.

The castle of Montmelas in majesty

Château de Montmelas – Crédit : PHILDIC on wikimedia commons

If at first to minimize production costs, the shooting of the series takes place in sheds near Paris, Kaamelott is equipped with a castle at the height of his majesty Arthur (Alexandre Astier). In the episodes La baliste and La baliste II of Books III and IV, the castle of Montmelas serves as a setting for a very funny plot. The one where Léodagan, the father-in-law of the sovereign (Lionnel Astier) has a huge catapult built inside the court but cannot make it leave the walls. One solution: destroy the front door.

Fortress built in the 12th century, this castle is classified as a historical monument. It is possible to stay and sleep in one of its many rooms.

Address : 69640 Montmelas-Saint-Sorlin

The green lake of the Lady of the Lake

Green lake of Passy, by Solarturtle (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Lac vert de Passy, by Lac vert de Passy, by Solarturtle (CC BY-SA 3.0)

A natural site classified since 1909, the green lake is located in Haute-Savoie in the commune of Passy. This place is important in the series as well as in the film. It is here that in episode 72 of Book IV the lady of the lake (Audrey Fleurot) asks Arthur to bring her back. Banished by the gods, this specter that only the king can see, tries to return to her home.

Kaamelott is a true family story. If Audrey Fleurot is not a member, Alexandre Astier has surrounded himself with his parents, Lionnel Astier and Joëlle Sevilla to play his parents-in-law in the series, but also his half-brother Simon playing Yvain. As for his daughters, Ariane and Jeanne, they are those of Karadoc (Jean-Christophe Hembert), his sons Neil and Ethan represent him younger in Book V.

Address : 74480 Passy

The Rock of Excalibur

King Arthur’s strength comes from his legendary sword Excalibur. He is the only one to have been able to extract it from a rock in Brittany. In the TV series as in the first movie, the magic object is sealed in the rock.

Alexandre Astier’s teams used the same location for both works. Thus, the sword is stuck in the rock of Blôt in the village of Les Estables at the border between the Haute-Loire and the Ardèche. Not far from the Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc, known as the source of the Loire River, it was the effervescence during the two days of shooting of the film. Two departmental roads were closed to the public to discourage onlookers from circulating information on social networks. A few residents also acted as extras. As for the Robobrol game of Perceval (Franck Pitiot), with obscure rules, it was filmed at La Jasserie (42660 Le Bessat), 2 hours from the famous rock.

Address : Rocher de Blôt, Estables, 43380 Cerzat

Castle of Bressieux

It is in her tower of pink bricks that Guinevere is locked up in the first opus of the film. Arthur comes to deliver her by climbing along the remains of the tower. Accompanied by the original music of Alexandre Astier, Arthur in the tower, the queen is surprised to see her husband climbing out of the window. It is one of the most moving scenes of this first part of the cinematographic saga.

Only the ruins of the castle of Bressieux remain. Located in the department of Isère, it was built between the 13th and 17th centuries. The 23-meter high dungeon or master tower welcomed Anne Girouard and the actor-director.

Kaamelott is dedicated to Louis de Funès. Alexandre Astier was greatly inspired by the actor of Le Corniaud. He borrowed his gimmick: “Get the hell out of here”, a famous line fromHibernatus by Édouard Molinaro.

Address : 38870 Bressieux

The castle of Favallier

Chateau de Fallavier by Xavier Caré / Wikimedia Commons
Chateau de Fallavier by Xavier Caré / Wikimedia Commons

In the first books of the Kaamelott series, the castle of La Madeleine in the Yvelines is used as a setting for the exterior scenes. This is also the case of the castle of Favallier, a fortress of the thirteenth century, featured in the credits of the series. Like the first monument, entire sequences are filmed there. This fortified castle, refurbished in the 1970s and owned by the town of Saint-Quentin-Favallier in Isère, appears in the pilot Dies Irae.

The series until the seventh episode was named Kaamelot before Alexandre Astier added a T to emphasize the final pronunciation of the title.

Address : 38070, Saint-Quentin-Fallavier

Another Finistère

Crozon : southern part of the beach of La Palue seen from Brégolou by Moreau.henri (CC-BY-SA-3.0)
Crozon : southern part of the beach of La Palue seen from Brégolou by Moreau.henri (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Books V and VI are composed of several outdoor scenes set in the department of Finistère. Thus, the technical teams have installed their equipment on the beach of La Palue on the peninsula of Crozon. It is visible in the episode The boy who cried wolf in which Venec (Louis Varraut) and Arthur cross paths.

Still on this peninsula, the point of Pen-Hir is used as a setting again for Venec and his team but also when Arthur walks alone before arriving at the lighthouse in the episode of the same name. For this construction, the Toulinguet lighthouse was used. Before being repainted in white, this beacon welcomes the king in search of the binoculars. He spends a rather agitated night there.

Finally, our tour of Brittany ends on the beach of Kaolins in Morbihan. In Book VI, Arthur lands there from Rome and meets the twins. It is also here that the king signs the treaty with the Romans in the episode Lacrimosa.

Addresses: Plage de la Palue 29160 Crozon, La pointe de Pen-Hir 29570 Camaret-sur-Mer, Phare de Toulinguet 29570 Camaret-sur-Mer, Plage des Kaolins boulevard de l’Atlantique 56270 Ploemeur.

The castle of Murol

Castle of Murol by Rotavdrag (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Castle of Murol by Rotavdrag (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Kaamelott : Premier Volet was partly shot in the castle of Murol. Built between the 12th and 16th centuries, this fortress is now managed by the commune of Murol in the Puy-de-Dôme. It is the home of Léodagan (Lionnel Astier).

It is in February 2019 that the few scenes were filmed in the greatest of secrecy. The monument’s management company was not allowed to reveal what was going on in its castle under a confidentiality clause. An open-air preview on July 20, 2021 was organized in the fortress with the remains of the building in the background.

Address : Rue du Château, 63790 Murol

The jails of Kaamelott

Entrance of the Bron fort by Xavier Caré / Wikimedia Commons
Entrance of the Bron fort by Xavier Caré / Wikimedia Commons

The fort of Bron is chosen by Alexandre Astier to shoot the scenes in the jails of Kaamelott in the first opus of the film. Thus the double-caponniere is used. This element of fortification serves as a prison for the castle in the film. The cage is also an integral part of the decor. Located in the second ring of Lyon, the polygonal-shaped monument was built between 1875 and 1877. Covering 1,500 m2, it could house 841 men in case of armed conflict.

Alexandre Astier is a true jack-of-all-trades, writing, directing, producing, editing and writing the music for the series and the film.

Address : Fort de, 69500 Bron

The castle of the Duke of Aquitaine

Château des Adhémar in Montélimar by ChateauxDrôme (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Château des Adhémar in Montélimar by ChateauxDrôme (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The Duke of Aquitaine, with his relaxed air and often off the mark in his lines, has a magnificent castle. The character played by Alain Chabat appears in the series but also in the film. If in the program of M6, the televiewers do not know its residence, the spectators discover it in the feature film.

It is in the castle of the Adhemar that the technical team and the actors settled for the scenes in the beautiful residence of the duke. Built in the 12th century, this fortress located in Montélimar is the property of the department of Drôme since 1965.

The first part of the saga was watched by 2,645,727 people in theaters.

The Fantrippers Buying Board

Kaamelott Tome 1 - L'armée du Nécromant

Kaamelott Vol. 1 - L'Armée du Nécromant (French Edition)

Meet King Arthur and the Knights of Kaamelott in the face of a terrible army of undead. L’Armée Du Nécromant, a great new adventure, is the first part of a new comic book series written by Alexandre Astier and illustrated by Steven Dupré.

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By Damien Canteau

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Passionné par l'Histoire, les animés, les Arts et la bande dessinée en particulier, Damien est le rédacteur en chef du site spécialisé dans le 9e art, Comixtrip.

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