Thionville. Stéphane Chevalier remakes the film

The discussion could last for hours. Stéphane Chevalier is a genuine cinephile. At 50, the Thionvillois does not count the time spent in front of the canvas since he was a kid, since he watched Tarzan at 10 in front of the small screen. But he also likes scratching behind the film, continuing the story beyond the credits. He does not speak of a film without a reference, without quoting a line, without slipping in an anecdote about the shooting, about its director, about this actor whose face we know and whose name we have forgotten. He doesn’t just recount them over coffee. Stéphane Chevalier writes. He even called his communications agency La Plume.

The health crisis and the confinements allowed him to work, in parallel with his activity, on three cinema works. He looked at three American classics, which came out of Bronston Studios in the 1960s. The 55 Days of Beijing by Nicholas Ray. As well as two films by Anthony Mann: l a Fall of the Roman Empire et The Cid “I still have hairs that stand on end when I think of the final duel”, he shows on his arms.

Sourced work

His books, laid out by his wife and partner Rania, accompany the DVD/blu-ray boxes. A niche market now, which must be sublimated. Stéphane Chevalier searched and leafed through the internet. “These films are Italian, American, Spanish productions,” he explains. Enough to increase the sources of information. He sorted, translated, transcribed. “I bought all the biographies of the actors,” he laughs. There are the best known: Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, Sophia Loren. And the others, perhaps less famous but easily identifiable if we dig into their filmography: Stephen Boyd (the childhood friend in Ben-Hur ), Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi dance Star Wars ) or even James Mason (the literature teacher in Lolita de Kubrick).

Stéphane Chevalier connected to fan blogs, made contact with specialized journalists and the rare actors of these three films still alive. In the book on The Cid , he interviews Gary Raymond, who played King Sancho. All chapters are richly illustrated with promo photos or without rights holders. Some seem as unusual as they are new.

From peplum to spaghetti western

Each book is full of details on the cast, behind the scenes, the life-size sets, the historical context, the production, the armies of extras… “I grew up with these films”, confesses Stéphane Chevalier. Beyond the sentimental aspect, the author perceives in these stories and these heroes a resonance with current society. Friendship, religion, ideals, loyalty are all themes addressed (even in a peplum like The Fall of the Roman Empire ). “The 55 Days of Beijing is a film that recalls the Orient in its most authentic form,” he adds.

The choice of these restored works was prompted by the house that publishes them, Rimini editions, carried by another enthusiast with whom he has worked for several years. It’s all about connecting, meeting, exchanging. The former kid from Belfort, who passed through Strasbourg, knows it. In the past, he has organized screenings, contributed to a fanzine, set up festivals, taken part in the dictionary of Italian westerns. And it’s not over. Because despite his pronounced taste for spaghetti westerns, he retains an insatiable appetite for the 7e art. The field is wide.

Boxes available on Amazon or on the Fnac website.

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