When Tarantino was filming Inglourious Basterds in Paris...
Shouting for revenge
Inglourious Basterds is a true story of revenge. In a France occupied by the Nazis in 1941, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent) watches helplessly as her parents are cowardly murdered by Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). This Nazi torturer is a specialist in tracking Jews. Despite the first denials of the father (Denis Ménochet), the officer manages to know the truth. He then shoots through the floor and kills the whole family except for the young woman.
Shosanna then leaves her village near Nancy for Paris. She changed her identity to Emmanuelle Mimieux and became the owner of a local cinema in 1944. She then meets Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brülh), a German sniper. These feats of arms are glorified in a propaganda film, Pride of the Nation. Very much in love with Emmanuelle, he manages to convince Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth) to show the feature film in his cinema. This is the perfect opportunity to set up an attack by causing a fire thanks to the highly flammable qualities of film. Emmanuelle discovers that Hans Landa is assigned to take care of the protection of the party. She thinks she can kill two birds with one stone and avenge her family.
But she doesn’t know that at the same time a secret operation called Kino – film in German – was set up by the British secret service. Its purpose is to assassinate German officers at the same screening of The Pride of the Nation…
The Renaissance Bistro in a unique Parisian decor
Since the plot takes place in Paris, it was logical that Quentin Tarentino would shoot a few scenes there. He set up his cameras in the 18th arrondissement.
Bistrot La Renaissance 112 Rue Championnet, 75018 Paris, France
It was here that Shosanna first met the German war hero Fredrick Zoller.
It was only after seeing the Bistro de la Renaissance in Claude Chabrol’s film Le Sang des autres that Quentin Tarantino decided to shoot this scene there. Opened in 1904, the establishment at the corner of Championnet and Poteau Streets has retained its retro decor, including its Lemière lamp with bevelled mirrors, red backroom benches and white marble bar.
The premises have also served as a backdrop for the feature films Les Ripoux by Claude Zidi, Fanfan by Alexandre Jardin and L’Animal with Jean-Paul Belmondo.
Championnet Street was also bustling for two days, from February 18 to 20, 2008. It was notably covered with gravel, the bakery was transformed into a four-season merchant, the current road signs were masked and the bars requisitioned for the technical teams.
Period cars, old bicycles, large wooden panels with old posters and a Morris column also made up the decorations. Nazi soldiers and extras then completed the sequences.
In addition to Paris and his Renaissance Bistro, the American director used other places in France.
When the Fort of Cormeilles welcomed Inglourious Basterds
Although it took only two days to shoot in Paris, Inglourious Basterds’ crews also filmed other locations in France, including the Fort de Cormeilles.
1 Route Stratégique, 95240 Cormeilles-en-Parisis
Located 12 km northwest of Paris, the Fort de Cormeilles was the setting for the cult scene of Inglourious Basterds in which the Jewish Bear, Sergeant Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth) kills SS Sergeant with a baseball bat.
This fortification of the Val-d’Oise was completed in 1877. It was part of the plan to fortify the capital. At that time, it housed 64 cannons, could accommodate up to 1095 men, 36 officers and 14 horses.
Now owned by the Ile-de-France regional council, the site is managed by the association of Friends of the Fort of Cormeilles. Because of the wide variety of buildings, its size and its network of galleries, the fort is frequently used for movies and television series. On average there are four film shoots a year. Thus, the first feature film filmed here was Terence Young’s The Fantastic True Story of Eddie Chapman in 1966. Then came the cult film L’Armée des ombres by Jean-Pierre Melville in 1969, On a retrouver la 7e compagnie by Robert Lamoureux in 1975 and Le Sang des autres by Claude Chabrol in 1984. More recently, the Fort de Cormeilles was used as a backdrop for Jean-Paul Salomé’s Les Femmes de l’ombre in 2008, Olivier Marchal’s MR 73 the same year and Chocolat de Roschdy Zem in 2015. It was also the scene of the performance of Marcel and Chassagne in season 5 of the series Un village français.
With millions of viewers and television viewers, and multiple awards for Christoph Waltz (an acting prize at Cannes, but also an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe), Inglourious Basterds is a key film in the work of Quentin Tarantino, which was shot in both France and Germany at the Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam and Bad Schandau.
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By Anthony Thibault
From the "Casimir generation", Anthony has kept (in addition to a passion for Goldorak) a taste for inventive images, experimentation and curiosity. Passionate about travel and pop culture, he co-founded Fantrippers with Nicolas Albert to share his passion with as many people as possible.