The City of Fear: how the cult comedy of Les Dulls was born – cinema news

While the feature film “The City of Fear” is broadcast this Wednesday evening on TMC, a look back at the genesis of the cult comedy of Dummies, a project launched by Charles Gassot after a refusal by Claude Berri.

We no longer present The City of Fear, the delirious comedy of Dummies broadcast this Wednesday evening on the TMC channel. Small classic of absurd humor very influenced by ZAZ (the series of Is there …), the feature film carried by Alain Chabat, Chantal Lauby and Dominique Farrugia enjoys an indisputable cult status more than one quarter of a century after its release, evidenced by the presentation event on the beach at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019.

Stars of the Canal + team in the 80s and 90s, Les Nuls took their time to go through the cinema box. It took them a few years to give birth, without the late Bruno Carette, to the scenario of The City of Fear, which sees a serial killer murder one by one the projectionists of the Cannes Film Festival. We are then at the beginning of the 90s.

After having suffered the refusal of Claude Berri, who judged the film a little stupid, the trio finally found refuge with Charles Gassot, a producer who had notably accompanied La Vie est un long quiet river and Tatie Danielle, the offbeat works of Etienne Chatiliez. And Les Dulls to consolidate their project by focusing on the services of the faithful Alain Berbérian, who already produced many sketches for them on the small screen.

The city of fear: how the cult comedy of les dulls was born - cinema news

In an interview granted in 2019 to our colleagues from Télérama, Charles Gassot enthusiastically returned to this “crazy project” that was The City of Fear. “This film was a lot of things at the same time, and that is precisely its strength”, declared the producer. “It was really a film of cinephiles but without taking itself seriously, without the chic of the word ‘cinephile’. This is also why we were on the same wavelength.”

“The City of Fear became a cult film because it was anti-everything: traditional anti-comedy, anti-parentage, anti-society, anti-Dummies films, even”, continued Gassot, still for Télérama. “But he was also generous, family, anti-nothing! Totally crazy then. It’s a film without equal. Dummies have invented a new box in comedy.”

The City of Fear will be triumphantly welcomed by the public, with nearly 2.3 million spectators attending the dark rooms. Thus proving that the passage from the small to the big screen is not necessarily an announced defeat, and that it is quite possible to combine comic ambition and popular success.

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