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25th October

"A monkey in winter" celebrated every year in Villerville

What more can we say about a film which has turned into a national monument over the course of its innumerable reruns on television ... "A monkey in winter" forever upset the small seaside resort of Villerville when it hosted, at the he winter 1961/1962, Henri Verneuil's film crew with his two cinema legends, Jean Gabin and Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Villerville, where Henri Verneuil put his camera down more than 50 years ago to shoot "A Monkey in Winter"
Villerville, where Henri Verneuil put his camera down more than 50 years ago to shoot "A Monkey in Winter" © Pierre Moquet

To be faithful to Antoine Blondin's novel, the town is renamed "Tigreville". Some scenes are shot in Port-en-Bessin or Houlgate, the interiors of Cabaret Normand and other places of drink are partly reconstituted in the studio, but nothing to do, Villerville lives, again and again, at the time of this night of drunkenness between Albert Quentin and Gabriel Fouquet. To resume a sparkling dialogue from Michel Audiard, we must admit that the meeting of Jean Gabin and Jean-Paul Belmondo in a film, it takes up space in a town like Villerville. Jean Gabin is, at this time, the boss of the French cinema on which the film is mounted. The genius idea is to confront him with Jean-Paul Belmondo, the rebel figure of the New Wave. The two men, for whom this is the only film in common, recognize each other, which gives this unique alchemy that explodes in the words of the author of Michel Audiard. Jean Gabin is obviously stimulated to respond to this young actor who reminds him of his pre-war career. And Jean-Paul Belmondo delights in being welcomed into a family in which he immediately recognizes himself, far from the preconceptions of auteur cinema where he has triumphed. A great novel, two actors at the top, breathtaking dialogues, an effective staging and a seaside resort isolated in the winter rain are the keys to the success of a film that has been inscribed in the collective memory. In 2014, for the needs of a documentary where he found the emblematic filming locations of his career, Jean-Paul Belmondo received, in Villerville, a warm welcome from dozens of admirers who testified to him to what extent "A monkey in winter "had illuminated their lives. What more can we say indeed.

To find the atmosphere of the film without drunkenness

Relive the fireworks on the beach

Fireworks are fired every year in October on Villerville beach in homage to the last scene of the film. This year it will take place Saturday October 30 at 20:30 p.m. at the initiative of the Brotherhood of the Monkey in winter, every year. Take a date for 2022: it will be the film's 60 years! A program full of memories is being studied.

 

 Learn more about the fireworks here 

Visit "Tigreville" on a route to follow independently

Totems have been installed in the village to mark the filming locations. A map is available at Villerville Tourisme. You can also follow the walking route: Villerville, in the footsteps of the film "A Monkey in Winter"

Useful information

Villerville Tourism
40 rue du Général Leclerc 14113 Villerville
+02 31 14 40 00
The filming locations of the film "A Monkey in Winter", symbolized in Villerville with totems.
The filming locations of the film "A Monkey in Winter", symbolized in Villerville with totem poles © City of Villerville (left) / Pierre Moquet (right)

Stay at the hotel

The Stella hotel run by Suzanne Flon and Jean Gabin no longer exists today. But you can stay at theHotel Le Bellevue ***. From the garden, it is the most beautiful point of view on the village and the beach. It has the charm of a century-old house.

Useful information

Hotel Le Bellevue ***
12 rue du Général Leclerc 14113 Villerville
+02 31 87 20 22

Hotel Le Bellevue ***
© Hotel Le Bellevue
View from the terrace of the hotel Le Bellevue ***
© Hotel Le Bellevue

Stop at Cabaret Normand

It is the film bar, which has remained intact and today a place of pilgrimage for fans of the film.

Useful information

The Normand Cabaret
2 rue Daubigny 14113 Villerville

Le Cabaret Normand, famous café where Jean-Paul Belmondo orders a Picon-beer after his arrival in Tigreville in the film "Un Singe en hiver"
Le Cabaret Normand, famous café where Jean-Paul Belmondo orders a Picon-beer after his arrival in Tigreville in the film "Un Singe en hiver" © Paloma Gabet

In detail

Director: Henri Verneuil.
Screenplay: Henri Verneuil, Michel Audiard and François Boyer based on the novel by Antoine Blondin.
Dialogues: Michel Audiard.
Assistant directors: Claude Pinoteau and Costa-Gavras. Music: Michel Magne.
The film was released on May 11, 1962. It recorded 2,4 million admissions.
In the main roles: Jean Gabin, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Suzanne Flon, Paul Frankeur, Noël Roquevert ...
Jean-Paul Belmondo receives at the exit of the film the praise of François Truffaut who crowns him best French actor of the moment. According to the founder of the New Wave, Belmondo is in the lineage of Jean Gabin, Fernandel or Gérard Philipe.