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René Vietto, the Bronze Man Legend

a unique documentary about a French legend, with pop music, drawings, archives and bikes!

About the project

On the way to the second objective of 7 500€ which will allow us, after the shooting of the last interviews and the end of the spotting made thanks to the first stage, to set up the shooting of scenes on the scene of René Vietto's exploits, the purchase of rare archive images...

And if we reach 10 000€, I climb the Braus pass on the big chain wheel !
(more details below)

"For me, it's the countryside, the mountains, the loneliness ... Even during the Tour de France I thought about throwing myself into the ravine. And yet I was in the lead. I always looked at the landscape. I would have liked to be a painter more than a racer. I often looked at myself in the shop windows when I was riding, so I saw myself in the reflection of the landscapes. In fact, I have never been happy in my life. I have been sometimes. I could have had a better career. My last Tour de France in 1949, Coppi won but my career ended in 1939 with the declaration of war."
René Vietto

Pagnol of the bicycle, inventor of genius, climber and extraordinary descender, the cyclist Vietto, dead in 1988, emotionally moved millions through the years 1930-1940. The war took away his best years and he was never able to conquer his Grail, the Tour de France. An unconventional character, he never had the career that was promised him, but he inspired some of the most beautiful sports and human stories in an overwhelming period.

This documentary tells the story of his legend and fills a gap. To tell a great human and french story unknown.

Originally from the same village next to Cannes, Rocheville, I go searching for him on the roads of France, meeting former cyclists, finding places of his exploits, seeking to feel the same emotions, to tell this extraordinary human story against the background of France - a France reflected in his destiny.

From the solitary hero of the Westerns to the young star of the Popular Front, Vietto, a real 'tough guy', a symbol of the generation of broken dreams, awakens in me a cinematographic imagination. To tell his story, I will use archival footage, extracts of classic films, original drawings by the designer LAX (read below), a collage of historical places in current landscapes, all as the way to draw out his complex and fierce competitor who devoted his life to cycling "which he never liked”, as he said in the very few interviews he gave.

VIETTO will shift away from the style of the classic biographical documentary, to seek more deeply this man who never stopped surprising us, who never walked the well-paved path to glory.

Let fiction emerge in reality.
Dream in places where he was.
Let the imagination do its job.
Tell a story.

Listen to words which capture a time and a place.
Recompose a story with archival images.
Imagine the missing images.
In the real scenery.

VIETTO, the legend of the Bronze Man, will be a personal and singular portrait.

A film about a man, about men, about dreams we pursue, over a certain period in France and set in a specific region, talking about cycling and another time... about humanity captured in a majestic pedal stroke against breathtaking landscapes ... a quest for life.

And there will be a lot of tremendous songs : Kazabian, Peter van Poehl, Alessi Brothers, Brian Holmes, Ravel, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Harding...

LAX, the comic artist in the project.

Cartoonist and comic author, LAX, has agreed to participate in the documentary. Author of L'Aigle sans orteil (Dupuis), of Larkspur (Futuropolis) wich capture all of these cycling pioneers, his work incomparably captures these heroes and their extraordinary feats. I want the texts of epochs and the radio commentaries from the era which spark our imagination to become poetic representations of these stories, not solely archival images. I want to replace cold facts with visual poetry. This is why LAX's drawings came immediately to mind. They create a poetic and evocative power essential to the emotion in this film - to capture the beauty of this human tragedy.</h1>

"These terrible passes of Tourmalet and Aubisque, which he did not know but which had such a terrible reputation, were easily conquered,  and, after being the King of the Alps, he became the King Pyrenees. Always immutably seated at the end of his saddle, the handle bars beautifully balanced, not moving the chest, without any swaying, such that only appears those true climbers. " Mirror of sports July 26, 1934


He is less well-known than Bernard Hinault, Anquetil, Poulidor or Louison Bobet. Nevertheless the campionissimo, Fausto Coppi, a miser in compliments, said of him that he was an example. The cyclist René Vietto is a film character, a hero of popular France who traveled his country as a magical yet tragic star. From his double sacrifice in 1934 to save his leader's victory, to his cut toe in 1947 to finish the race, much is said about him.
He was called King René.

"In the Tour of 1934, the young Niçois goes up like a bird, plumage motionless under its beating wings. He is handsome, shady. Vietto thought about the geometry of his bike. He pedaled high in the saddle and on the front, climbing on himself before climbing the world. He pedals at the tip. He invented coast aerodynamics. He speaks like Raimu and pretends to fly. René says to brake in the turns. Vietto invents speed, altitude, and fluidity. We owe him the first cyclic approximation of grace. He is the first king of the mountain. "in Philippe Bordas, in Forcenés.

Jean Bobet, brother of Louison Bobet - one of the greatest French cyclist - evokes the fascination of his brother for Vietto.

 The documentary is produced by ACIS Production in collaboration with my association GivemefiveminutesProd which support the crowfunding.

What are the funds for?

We ask for 5000 euros but our goal is 10 000 euros which allow to finish the documentary that subject deserves.

The funding will be used to finalize the production and post-production of the film.

Yes, but that is to say!

With 5000€, we can do :
1. The shooting of the last interviews from Paris to Caen, from Nice to Toulouse. I must continue to meet and film former riders, some bike historians or acquaintances who knew him and who could tell me his story.
2. Finish the archival researchs.

With 7 500€, we can do :
1. The shooting of scenes on the location of exploits and dramas where the story of René Vietto was built. From the Izoard pass to the Esterel crossing, from Sully sur Loire to the Nice pass ...
2. Begin to buy some archival stills for the editing.

With 10 000€, we can do :
1. The purchase of the broadcasting rights of the archives at INA, Gaumont, L'Equipe and films. Obviously, this is quite expensive.

The funding will not fund everything (though we can always exceed the goals) but will allow the documentary to exist.

Thank you all!

About the project owner

I am Julien Camy, a journalist, documentary filmmaker and historian. I have already made two documentaries, La Boulangerie du coin (2012) and Art and the cultural way to school (2014). Human, social and cultural issues are essential in my work.

Passionate about sport, I have just published with my father, Gérard Camy, the first book exploring sport in the fiction film industry: Sport & Cinema which received the prize for the “Meilleur beau livre 2016” by the French syndicate of film criticism.

I am a specialist in the works of directors Ken Loach and Sion Sono. I also collaborate on the collection of books Institut Lumière / Actes Sud.

I am the founder of the fanzine Peeping Tom, dedicated to underground cinema and I contribute to the azure magazine on sustainable development Ressources ...

For me, telling this story is a continuation of my artistic approach and humanistic beliefs, already established in my previous works. I have often searched in my work (photographic, video) to speak of a past that helps us to live in the present.

(photo Patrice Terraz)