was the fiction with Bernard Le Coq really shot in Tahiti?

Monday, November 21, France 2 broadcasts The Last Queen of Tahitia historical fresco evoking the story of Pomare IV, the only sovereign to have presided over the destiny of the island for fifty years, with Bernard LeCoq, Thierry Godard and Terence Telle. A fiction motivated by France Télévision’s desire to highlight creation overseas, which led the entire team to the other side of the world. Julien Dewolf, producer at GMT Productions, points out: “The moral deal we had with the Polynesians was to avoid what I call “the syndrome of the metropolitans” who arrive, make their films and say goodbye! Half of the team was Tahitian and they were involved very early on in the project. This is the reason why we were welcomed as sincere partners, with an emotion that was all the stronger as some were discovering part of their history. The evening of the screening organized on site with the whole government and many spectators, the President was in tears, thanking us for having told his country in this way. If the fiction was shot in the Pacific archipelago, it is mainly in Moorea that director Adeline Darraux set up her cameras: “It is an island twenty minutes by boat from Tahiti, more preserved, which allowed us to use less special effects in order to erase the constructions and other modern infrastructures, more present in Papeete, for example, specifies the producer”.

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Filming interrupted by the Covid

However, if the lagoons and other natural settings carry a certain taste of paradise, the working conditions were far from idyllic. Scheduled to start in September 2021, filming has been delayed for six months due to Covid: “Ten days before the first clapperboardsays Julien Dewolf, I had to tell the director that we had to stop everything, which was not easy because she had been preparing on site for weeks… Polynesia was then going through the epidemic peak that we had experienced a few months earlier, the he economy was at a standstill, the emergency room was overcrowded and the death toll was increasing alarmingly. The authorities having alerted me: “it’s no longer a shoot, it’s a cluster!”, my responsibility as a producer and citizen was clearly not to send a whole team to the other side of the world when it was becoming dangerous. But everyone undertook to make themselves available at the time of the recovery, without really knowing when it would take place, which was both touching and unusual.“It was not until March 2022 that filming was finally able to begin, with other hazards to manage, in particular climatic…

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With 80% humidity in the air, filming was tough

For the second time, nearly six tons of materials – in particular costumes and sets – were loaded aboard a cargo ship to circumnavigate the globe. Once there, if the sumptuousness of the landscapes kept all its promises, the shooting conditions were not easy: “With 80% humidity in the air, Polynesia experiences a very trying climate. Not only does the sun remind you that if you forget your sunscreen in the morning, you will have crimson skin in the evening, but, in addition, you sweat from morning to night!explains the general manager of GMT. I particularly think of Alexia Barlier or Bernard Le Coq who, despite our precautions to lighten them, wore monstrously heavy suits. For the technicians like the actors, physically, it was very hard”. Unsuspected difficulties in the image: we call it the magic of cinema!

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