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The Clown's smile

The Clown's smile

A Feature film by Eric Besnard

Produced by Mandarin Production

Release in France : 21/07/1999


    A room, a bed, a weary man with his finger on the trigger. The revolver is pointed at his head. The hammer clicks on an empty chamber—apparently the man's time hasn't come yet. Ian, however, doesn't feel like living. This old Russian clown, adrift in a wretched hotel, thought he'd reached the end of the trail. Shots ring out in the hallway. A man rushes into Ian's room and collapses, dead, on the bed. The next instant, his pursuers burst into the room. The old clown lifts his revolver in self-defense—a survival reflex which triggers a long chase. Although Ian wanted to die, danger now gives him the strength to fight back. And he's no longer alone, since he has to save the hide of Lucas, a young priest who took him in after discovering him wounded in the street. The noose begins to tighten around the necks of the two runaways. But a clown's smile is not always kindly

    Actors (12)

    Production and distribution (2)

    Executive Producer :

    Mandarin Production

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    I recognize many sources of inspiration – Melville, Huston and Aldrich – but above all Kurosawa, without whom this screenplay wouldn't exist. "The Clown's Smile" is the story of man whose times no longer offer him any role to play. That's a major theme of samurai films, but the advent of the Meiji era is replaced here by the fall of the Berlin wall. The protagonist's profession, his very existence, no longer has any meaning. At certain moments in history, the lives of certain people are no longer in step with their times. That was the case with knights in Europe in the thirteenth century and cowboys in the early twentieth. And it's the same for our clown.

    Eric Besnard – Director, excerpt from press folder

    Photos (2)

    Full credits (12)

    Executive Producers :

    Éric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer

    Line Producer :

    Jean-Louis Nieuwbourg

    Director of Photography :

    Pierre Aïm

    Press Attachés (film) :

    François Hassan Guerrar, Aude Thomas

    Continuity supervisor :

    Rachel Corlet

    Costume designer :

    Jackie Budin

    Adaptation :

    Eric Besnard

    Screenwriters :

    Eric Besnard, Lionel Steketee

    Production Manager :

    Jean-Louis Nieuwbourg

    Editor :

    Katya Chelli

    Production Designer :

    Virginia Field

    Still Photographer :

    David Verlant

    Technical details

    Feature film

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    Original French-language productions :


    Nationality :

    Majority French

    Production year :


    French release :


    Runtime :

    1 h 30 min

    Current status :


    Visa number :


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    Posters (2)



    Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris - 1999

    Unifrance Rendez-Vous in Paris (France, 1999)


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