Bernard Fau's first film

Once upon a time, the Continental Circus

Race to film
and film to race

When I hung up the leather in 1984, after devoting half my life to racing, I wrote a screenplay, “The Last Season”. I had no other solution to accept that a new season starts without me…

Once Upon a time the Continental Circus DVD English

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"Once upon a time, the Continental Circus", directed by Bernard Fau (DVD or Blu-ray 180min)

And at the same time I turned to the world of cinema, my camera on my shoulder, which I had imagined during my motorcycle adventure.
Thirty years spent shooting as still photographer on film sets, the turn of the sixties pushed me to return to the circuits and implement this project which I had not given up.
Running to film and filming to run became my credo. And a great admirer of Sergio Leone, the title” Once upon a time, the Continental Circus” was self-evident !

I would not have imagined, since it did not exist in the 80s, that Moto legends style events, with old motorcycle races, would attract crowds.
To my great surprise, promoted to the status of “Legend” alongside my “brothers in arms”, the opportunity to reconnect with the track opened up. The teenage dream continued. Just magic !

My first motorcycle film, the meeting of 2 passions

This time, failing to seek a world title, I plunged into the possibility of achieving a unique challenge of being the first ex-competitor of the highest level and to make a documentary film of it. My ambition was to revive that era of recklessness and audacity during which many of its actors paid a high price. The scenario was basic, it was a question of filming this Revival of racing, of finding the legendary circuits, of filming the action as close as possible and to adapt it to the images archived at INA.

Just as much as the race, the cinema requires a lot of money and it was Jacques Bolle, then Eric de Seynes (Manager of Yamaha Motor Europe) and Patrick Jacquot (Manager of Mutual Motorcycle insurance) who were the first to believe in the adventure after Marie and Robert financed the machine and the trips. Then the cinema technicians responded and participated with the enthusiasm and generosity worthy of the spirit of the continental circus.

Again, I found myself chasing after the finances, while organizing the trips, the filming equipment, but also the maintenance of the machine, dating from 1980, and which was the female star. She had to work as well as the pilot-actor-director who had no right to hurt himself, the film first! If all these caps piled up on my head, paradoxically they were more stimulating than handicapping. The stakes and the necessity imposed themselves, and the more I filmed, the more images I wanted.

Once Upon a time the Continental Circus DVD English

Buy the movie

"Once upon a time, the Continental Circus", directed by Bernard Fau (DVD or Blu-ray 180min)

A clever mix of filmed images, interviews and archives

On the end, there was 180 hours of images (including 120 of filming on circuits, 30 of interviews and 30 of archives) awaited me and there was no question of starting the editing without knowing them perfectly: 6 months of daily work!
Then, when the idea for the first quarter of an hour of the film took shape, shot by shot, the work of editing a 3-hour film was completed two days before the premiere at the Majestic Bastille, on November 20, 2015.

The deadline for the release, which had been postponed by a year, to the chagrin of some subscribers who felt they had been cheated, was imperatively fixed for the Moto Légendes show in Vincennes.

My first pride was that this project can exist only with the effective subscription of more than a thousand enthusiasts who understood that this kind of film would never be subsidized either by TV channels or by government institutions. You had to pay to see !

The second was that this outcome was my world title, me the eternal outsider, “the private”. Since then, the film has continued its life as a family album, where nostalgia plays its role to the full.

And I have made a second film about a champion Frenchman whose personality immediately attracted me : Johann Zarco.

Buy the movie

"Once upon a time, the Continental Circus"
directed by Bernard Fau
(DVD or Blu-ray 180min)