Let the festivities begin

Let the party begin … is a French historical film directed by Bertrand Tavernier , released in 1975 , with Philippe Noiret , Jean Rochefort and Jean-Pierre Marielle . The film is set in the xviii th century during the period of the regency and puts particular scene in the true story of the conspiracy Pontcallec .


In France, during the first quarter of the xviii th century. King Louis XV (great-grandson and successor of Louis XIV ) being a minor, the regency is ensured by his great-uncle, the Duc d’Orléans (Philippe Noiret), notorious debauchee, surrounded by a court of prostitutes and of deluded enjoyers. In Brittany , the Marquis de Pontcallec (Jean-Pierre Marielle) foments a plot to overthrow the duke in favor of King Philip V of Spain , grandson of Louis XIVand uncle of the young sovereign. It hopes to restore its independence to Britain – by freeing it from its duties of vassalage to the power of Paris – and proclaiming the republic. The Abbe Dubois (Jean Rochefort), Premier Regent complacent and ambitious manipulator charge to end the conspiracy while using it to satisfy his own ambitions.

Technical sheet

  • Title: Let the party begin …
  • Director: Bertrand Tavernier
  • Assistant Director: Laurent Heynemann
  • Scenario: Jean Aurenche and Bertrand Tavernier
  • Production: Michelle de Broca , Yves Robert
  • Production Companies: Fildebroc , Productions de la Guéville , Universal Pictures
  • Distribution Companies: Specialty Films ( ), Kino Video ( DVD ), CIC ( )
  • Music: Philippe d’Orléans , Regent of France, studied and restored by Antoine Duhamel , according to the original manuscript of the opera Penthée
  • Photography: Pierre-William Glenn
  • Editing: Armand Psenny
  • Sets: Pierre Guffroy
  • Set designer: Pierre Lefait
  • Costumes: Jacqueline Moreau
  • Country of origin: France
  • Format: colors – 1.85: 1 – mono – 35 mm
  • Genre: Dramatic comedy
  • Duration: 114 minutes
  • Release date :  


  • Philippe Noiret : Philippe d’Orléans , Regent for his grand-nephew Louis XV
  • Jean Rochefort : Father Dubois
  • Jean-Pierre Marielle : the Marquis de Pontcallec
  • Marina Vlady : Mary Magdalene of Vieuville, Marquise of Parabère
  • Christine Pascal : Émilie
  • Alfred Adam : François de Neufville, Duke of Villeroy
  • Jean-Roger Caussimon : the cardinal
  • Gérard Desarthe : the Duke of Bourbon
  • Michel Beaune : Captain La Griollais
  • Monique Chaumette : the governess of Pontcallec
  • François Dyrek : Montlouis
  • Jean-Paul Farré : Father Burdo
  • Nicole Garcia : the Fillon
  • Raymond Girard : Pierre Chirac , First Doctor of the Regent
  • Jacques Hilling : Father Gratellard
  • Bernard La Jarrige : Amaury of Lambilly
  • Monique Lejeune : me Sabran
  • Georges Riquier : Brunet of Ivry
  • Brigitte Roüan : the prostitute
  • Andrée Tainsy : the nun
  • Jean Amos : the police officer
  • Roland Amstutz : the coachman of the Regent
  • Gilbert Bahon : the coachman of the cab
  • Bruno Balp : the valet Leblanc
  • Michel Berto : the chaplain of the little Louis XV
  • Richard Bigotini : the neighbor of the hostel
  • Michel Blanc : the valet de chambre of Louis XV
  • Stéphane Bouy : Nocé
  • Liza Braconnier : the servant of Louis XV
  • Agnès Château : the farmer of the accident
  • Philippe Chauveau : the hostel’s witness
  • Christian Clavier : the valet of the hostel
  • Daniel Duval : the mirebalai 1
  • Yves Elliot : the Breton peasant
  • Pierre Forget : the “Iroquois” Jesuit
  • Claude Furlan : the hostel worker
  • Guy Gerbaud : the monk of the prison of Nantes
  • Gilles Guillot : the deacon of the hospice
  • Maurice Jacquemont : the priest who initiates Dubois
  • Yvon Lec : the priest of the procession
  • Jacques Lelut : the first bandouilier
  • Bernadette Le Saché : Helen of Lambilly
  • Thierry Lhermitte : Count Horne
  • Eric Lorvoire : an accomplice of Horne
  • Bertrand Migeat : the second bandoulier
  • Pierre Moncorbier : Father Fleury
  • René Morard : the peddler
  • Jean-Jacques Moreau : a farmer
  • Jacqueline Parent : Séverine, goddaughter of the Regent
  • Gérard Pichon : the baker
  • Bernard Pierrot : the musician leader
  • Jean-Paul Poirer : the sleeper
  • Jacky Pratoussy (credited Jacques Pratoussi): a lackey
  • Colette Proust : the psychic
  • Patrick Raynal : a lackey
  • Blanche Raynal : the wife of Pontcallec
  • Jean Rougerie : Talhoüet
  • Marie-Jo Simenon : the novice
  • Anthony Stuart : Ambassador Stairs
  • Hélène Vincent : the Duchess of Orleans
  • Marcel Dalio (uncredited): the suffocating nobleman at the meal
  • Gérard Jugnot (uncredited): the man on foot
  • Jean-Luc Moreau

Awards, Appointments

  • 1975 : Méliès Award
  • Césars 1976 :
    • Cesar Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role to Jean Rochefort
    • Caesar for best original screenplay or adaptation to Bertrand Tavernier and Jean Aurenche
    • Cesar Award for Best Director to Bertrand Tavernier
    • Caesar for the best decor in Pierre Guffroy
    • Caesar nomination for best film
    • Caesar Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Christine Pascal
    • Cesar nomination for the best music written for a film for Philippe d’Orléans and Antoine Duhamel

Analysis of the film

In an atmosphere of arrogance and licentiousness , in the midst of the crisis of public finances, an unscrupulous minister (the abbot and then Archbishop Dubois ) obtained power over the head of the Marquis de Pontcallec . It is without illusion that Philippe d’Orléans, debauched but political end, lets his minister and accomplice.

The plot begins in July 1719 with the death of Marie Louise Élisabeth d’Orléans , the Regent’s eldest daughter, of which Tavernier shows the autopsy in a scene of a macabre carnival. Victim of her excessive food and love, “Joufflotte” is found again pregnant, as Madame de Saint-Simon teaches the Regent. The physical decay of the young princess is in the image of the rottenness of the Ancien regime, seventy years before the storming of the Bastille … Her ghost “haunts” the Regent throughout the film, suggesting equivocal relations between the father and his daughter.

Narrated by the court man and memorialist Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon , a childhood friend of Philippe d’Orleans, it is a tragicomic chronicle particularly hostile to the institution as it evolved after the reign of Louis XIV : in a masquerade , the regent invites to his court the allegorical figures “of misery, despair and death . ”

Around the film

  • When it was released in March 1975, many recognized in the character played by Philippe Noiret the new president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing , a modern leader at the time compared to his predecessors. The reforming action of his government (law on abortion, majority at eighteen, pro-European position) was also thwarted by the interests of his Gaullist allies represented at the time by his prime minister and intimate enemy, Jacques Chirac . The name of this one is also used in the film for one of the secondary characters, the Surgeon of the Regent, a character who really existed but who is not the ancestor of the future President of the Republic, despite the homonymy 2 .
  • The film stars Philippe Noiret , Jean Rochefort and Jean-Pierre Marielle, but no scene brings them all together (if the Duc d’Orléans and the Abbe Dubois rub shoulders with each other throughout the film, Pontcallec only meets briefly Dubois and never meets the regent): the three comedians, friends to the city, were only reunited in the cinema twenty years later, in The Grand Dukes of Patrice Leconte , where they are this time all together at the screen 3 .
  • Philippe Noiret reenact the costume of Philippe d’Orléans more than twenty years later in Le Bossu de Philippe de Broca ( 1997 ).
  • To note, the appearances of several members of the troupe of the Splendid : Gérard Jugnot (a man on foot), Thierry Lhermitte (the count of Horn), Christian Clavier (the valet of the inn) and Michel Blanc (the valet de chambre) of Louis XV ).
  • The filming took place from September 16th to November 9th, 1974 in various places: the wild coast of Landunvez ( Finistère ), Morbihan , Monts d’Arrée ( Mont Saint-Michel of Brasparts ), castle of Tonquédec ( Côtes-d’Armor) , Fontevraud Abbey , the old Le Mans .
  • Some of the film’s music comes from the works of the real Philippe d’Orléans, composer and artist in his lost time. A gwerz (traditional Breton lament) on the Marquis de Pontcallec, Marv Pontkalleg (“the death of Pontcallec”), is interpreted by Gilles Servat .

Historical errors and visual anachronisms [ change | change the code ]

The action takes place in Versailles while the young king returns there in 1722. At that time, he lives with the court in Paris.

The Duchess of Berry is characterized as a mad girl whose father is too in love. In fact, the princess, widowed since 1714 and known for many “passades” in love, dies in her twenty-fourth year of the bad consequences of a very laborious childbirth which occurred in her palace of Luxembourg at the end of March 1719. The public scandal of her delivery and her declining health pushed the princess to retire to the castle of Muette in Paris where she died on July 21 4 . The autopsy shows that she became pregnant soon after her diapers.

In the latest orgy of the film, Mary Magdalene, disguised as an incarnation of misery, wears an old woman’s mask over a skull mask. These are latex carnival masks, type of product obviously nonexistent at the time when the film takes place. After this scene, in the bathroom where Émilie was washing the “stinking” hand of the regent, the light came from two light bulbs.

The Marquis Pontcallec uses the word “avatar” as it has appeared in the French language at the xix th century, taken from the Sanskrit avatāra 5 . Moreover, it erroneously used to refer to an unfortunate event, this confusion with the word “insult” is attested only from the xx th century.

He also jokes about the Republic of Brittany, his project, speaking of a “republic of nobles”, as if it could not work. This is a very modern concept: most examples of republics known at the time ( Roman Republic , Republic of Venice , Republic of Genoa …) were republics of noble.

The final sequence, where indignant peasants torch a coach, explicitly announces the French Revolution , a woman declaring: “We will burn many more” [ sic ]. In reality, the action taking place in 1720, it will be necessary to wait sixty-nine years.


  • Annie Duprat , “suggested Revolts and announcement of the French Revolution: Let the party begin Bertrand Tavernier” in Haffemayer Stéphane (ed.), Revolts and revolutions on the screen: modern Europe xvi th – xviii th century , Rennes, Rennes University Press , coll.  “History”,, 190 p. ( ISBN  978-2-7535-4071-2 , online presentation  [ archive ] ) , p.  133-146.

External links

  • (en) The party begins … [ archive ] on the Internet Movie Database
  • Let the party begin [ archive ] on Allociné
  • Poster of the film  [ archive ]

Notes and references

  1. ↑ In the xviii th and xix th centuries was called “Mirebalais” men who cared for the ladies in the “gallant parts” when other men were off fighting.
  2. ↑ Michel Cadé , A criticism of the Giscardian reform: Let the party begin and Judge and Assassin Bertrand Tavernier ,p.  267-278
  3. ↑ Patrice Leconte presented its grand dukes festival Love Film in Mons Noiret, Rochefort and Marielle for gluttony  [ archive ] , Le Soir , February 12, 1996
  4. ↑ At the end of January 1716, the Duchess of Berry clandestinely gives birth to a girl in the Luxembourg Palace. In the spring of 1717, again pregnant, she retired to the castle of Muette until his deliverance. At the end of March 1719, close to the end of a new pregnancy, the “fertile Berry” does not give up its life of pleasure, chaining the outings and dinners, heavily sprinkled with violent spirits. Back in Luxemburg, after a night of debauchery, the reckless man, seized with sharp contractions, lost the waters, and panicked took refuge in a small room. The difficulties of work alert the courtiers while deliverance is delayed, increasing the scandal. Cruel aggravation to the tortures of the birth, the daughter of the Regent to the article of the death is denied the sacraments of the Church. It is finally delivered from a stillborn child. While satirical poems brocade the “incestuous birth” and the fears of the woman who has given birth, she conceals her shame at the castle of Meudon. Badly relieved of her layers, new excesses complete her wretched interiors with maternity. After a long agony, the Duchess of Berry expires on July 21 at La Muette. The autopsy of her body reveals that she became pregnant again during her convalescence in Meudon (Patrick Wald Lasowski, the Duchess of Berry expires on the 21st of July at La Muette. The autopsy of her body reveals that she became pregnant again during her convalescence in Meudon (Patrick Wald Lasowski, the Duchess of Berry expires on the 21st of July at La Muette. The autopsy of her body reveals that she became pregnant again during her convalescence in Meudon (Patrick Wald Lasowski, Love at the time of libertines , Paris, 2011, pp. 28-31)
  5. ↑ ” Etymology of AVATAR ”  [ archive ] , on CNRTL .fr (accessed May 16, 2017 ) .

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