The farewell of “Plus belle la vie” immortalized in a moving documentary

How to say goodbye? After 4,665 episodes broadcast since 2004, More beautiful life ends this Friday on France 3 with two new episodes from 8:15 p.m., followed at 9:10 p.m. by a special 90-minute episode, entitled “Seven weddings for a funeral”. At 10:50 p.m., France 3 broadcasts an unpublished documentary, The great adventure of “Plus belle la vie”, directed by Anne-Sophie Dobetzky and Raphaël Monégier. Behind the scenes, the duo immortalized the farewell of the team and the clap of the end of the series.

“France Télévisions wanted to offer the most beautiful end of the evening possible to a program which was so important on their antennas”, launches the co-director Anne-Sophie Dobetzky. This 60-minute documentary takes the viewer inside the Studios de la Belle de Mai in Marseille at the time of “the conclusion of eighteen years of joint work for some”, sums up Raphaël Monégier.

“We wanted to let them live this moment”

Filming took place during the last three days of filming on September 27, 28 and 29. The documentary team remained on site on September 30 to “film images in the empty sets”, says Raphaël Monégier.

In Marseilles, the film crew of The great adventure of “Plus belle la vie” tried to be discreet. “We wanted to let them live this moment. It was important to them,” says the director.

On set, “the atmosphere was festive. There was the desire to finish well. Every day, there were goodbyes, opportunities to party, to get together, remembers Raphaël Monégier. There was also a form of nostalgia, not in the depression, but rather of the order of “do you realize all that we have done?”. We felt proud to have participated in this rather unique and miraculous adventure of the French PAF. »

“It was heartbreaking for them”

The documentarians film the filming of the last sequences of each key interpreter of the series. “They weren’t leaving just one job, it was much stronger. We felt that it was heartbreaking for them to no longer see each other every day, ”underlines Anne-Sophie Dobetzky.

During the filming of the final sequence, Laurent Kérusoré (Thomas Marci) prolongs the pleasure, pretends to crash in his text or complain about a microphone problem. “He wanted to extend a little, to redo a take, but also to be the actor of that moment, to take two seconds to look at what was happening around him”, analyzes Raphaël Monégier.

And the 1st assistant director to officially declare: “And it’s the end of the series! » instead of the traditional « And it’s the end of the day! “. “Whether you follow the series or not, it was impossible not to feel this wave of emotion. Everyone had tears in their eyes. There were nearly 200 people at Place du Mistral. It was very powerful… We also had tears in our eyes when we weren’t part of the family,” recalls Anne-Sophie Dobetzky.

“It was important for them to testify”

Through twenty interviews with emblematic actors and actresses, the documentary scans the history of the soap opera, its impact on French society and on the lives of its performers. “We wanted to make a film that was a little madeleine,” underlines Raphaël Monégier. And to explain: “We wanted it to be those who brought the series to life on the screen for eighteen years who told it to us. »

These interviews were filmed in the two weeks following the end of filming. “We captured them at a time when they were very sincere in their emotion and their desire to say goodbye to the viewers. They all accepted with great generosity. We felt that it was not easy for them, but that it was important for them to go to the end and testify in this documentary, ”recalls Anne-Sophie Dobetzky.

The choice of performers interviewed was difficult. “We have eighteen years to compact in sixty minutes! “, underlines the director. And to explain: “We wanted the histories, but also to show that the cast had been renewed, that all generations were present. »

“More beautiful life” changed their lives”

More beautiful life changed their lives in so many ways,” says Anne-Sophie Dobetzky. For the youngest, the soap opera was “their first big professional experience. They learned their trade thanks to the series and to forge a shell, because this kind of program is often criticized, and that it is necessary to manage that ”, she continues.

More beautiful lifethe first French daily soap opera, represents a rather unique professional opportunity: “They have aged with their characters, which is not common”, notes Raphaël Monégier.

On the set, the atmosphere was good. “The human factor makes it work or not. There, there was a little collective miracle, people got along well, ”notes the director. “Anne Décis also said that the benevolence of the technical team was essential”, adds her sidekick.

The team “welcomed the newcomers very well,” says Anne-Sophie Dobetzky. “We felt it because we were very well received,” confirms Raphaël Monégier.

“There have been love stories and babies”

The “troop” has also forged strong ties off set. “The friendship extended beyond the sets. There were love stories. Some lasted, others did not, there were babies, ”says Anne-Sophie Dobetzky. “They belong to a family, they have all told us so”, agrees Raphaël Monégier.

The collaboration has sometimes flourished off the sets. Anne Décis (Luna Torres) and Aurélie Vaneck (Ninon Chaumette), friends on screen and in the city, have set up Oma Bloom, “a small eco-responsible jewelry company”.

“The love that the public has for them, and vice versa”

“They are all aware of being an exception in the history of French television, by the way they arrived on the air, at first it didn’t work well, but we believed in them, and they have succeeded in finding an audience”, explains Raphaël Monégier.

“My most beautiful love story is you,” sang Barbara in tribute to her audience. “It’s impressive to see the love that the public has for them, and vice versa. I sensed a sincerity from them when they told us about their relationship with viewers, citing specific examples of letters they received. I don’t know if another series has created such closeness, ”says the director.

While making this film, “on the last day of filming, we had this feeling of witnessing a moment in the history of television. Having the opportunity to be there, to be able to bear witness to it, to transcribe it into a documentary, was also a source of great pride for us,” concludes Raphaël Monégier.

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