After eighteen years of broadcasting and 4,665 episodes shot, the last take of “Plus belle la vie” will take place Thursday at the end of the afternoon in the historic studios of Belle-de-Mai, a working-class district of Marseille.
The last two episodes will be broadcast on November 18 on France 3, which produces the series with the Newen company, and will be followed by a third specifically produced for the occasion, at prime time.
“I absolutely wanted to be part of the last comma” of the adventure, says Clément Cescau, member of the post-production team, from his editing office, above the large studio which hosts the emblematic Marseille bar of the Mistral where the main characters of the series meet.
He is in charge of finishing the visual editing of the last episode broadcast in “prime time”.
“After a while, the series mingles with everyone’s life”, says the one who met his wife there, a costume designer, during the twelve years of companionship with “Plus belle la vie”.
– “Huge pride” –
“At the end, it brings enormous pride, both in what the series has become, what we did and what the project raised” in terms of societal issues, says Mr. Cescau, making reference to the very early homosexual characters represented as well as to the various forms of discrimination addressed over the course of the episodes.
This popular series brought together up to six million viewers on certain evenings in 2008.
“I wanted to say goodbye to the team, as a director”, testifies for her part Claire de La Rochefoucauld, 50, returned exceptionally behind the camera for the last scene of “historical” characters, Blanche and François Marci, performed by Cécilia Hornus and Thierry Ragueneau.
The one who was an episode director for fourteen years took on the role of producer in 2022, in particular to take charge of this “difficult” moment at the end of the series and “emotionally support” the teams, “her family from here” , she explains.
Each day, the editing teams produced a 26-minute episode, which imposed on them a very sustained pace that was out of all proportion to the rhythms of non-daily series and cinema.
“We have to move on, I know, but it’s still sad, it’s a nice series, a nice team”, regrets for her part Carole Bourrelly, one of the three hairdressers taking care of every day actors alongside dressers and make-up artists.
After ten years running a hairdressing school in the temple of Bollywood cinema in India, the 51-year-old Marseillaise started at “Plus belle la vie” in 2018.
– “TGV in motion” –
“When we arrive, it’s like entering a TGV in motion”, explains the one who combs ten to twelve people a day in one of the white rooms with sofas and mirrors where the actors wait before joining the filming.
“It’s a wonderful school that teaches efficiency”, adds Claire de La Rochefoucauld in one of the six studios dedicated to the series: “to direct an actor, instead of saying four sentences, you learn to say a word , because you have to go fast”.
Nearly 600 people worked each year for the series and 3,232 actors in all, to which must be added the extras, took part in the filming, an important economic contribution for Marseille, a city whose series “thwarted a certain number of negative images “, underlined in the spring the president of the Tourist Office Marc Thépot.
Claire de La Rochefoucauld expresses the wish that “this family is forming a network” to continue working together and “that in Marseille, there is no mess with the teams”.
It is “up to [them to] renew themselves and preserve the links over time”, she believes.