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LeMans: 1955 Disaster - Animated Take

 
Old 07-20-2018, 08:37 AM
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LeMans: 1955 Disaster - Animated Take

1955 24 Hours of Le Mans disaster retold in new animated film by Quentin Baillieux

Video trailer at link above.

In the history of racing disasters, the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans tragedy still exists in a category of its own. Even today, it's difficult to believe that that many people could be killed in an accident involving a small number of race cars, and the still-uncertain death toll adds an aura of unease and menace to the tragedy.

And that all makes creating an animated short film about the event a delicate and daunting undertaking.

Directed by filmmaker Quentin Baillieux, the film was inspired by his visit to an exhibition about the race at the Louvre.

"I began researching that event, and two very contradictory photos appeared next to one another on my screen," Baillieux wrote in his director's notes. "On one side, the image of a tragedy: people in a panic, a blazing inferno behind them. Bodies were sprawled across the stadium. The photo beside it depicted delighted drivers celebrating their victory with Champagne. How could these two images be linked? How can we live a moment so joyful in parallel to one so tragic?"

The crash involved a Jaguar, an Austin-Healey and a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. After a Jaguar driven by racer Mike Hawthorn forced an Austin-Healey driven by Lance Macklin into the path of the 300 SLR piloted by Pierre Levegh, the Mercedes launched into the air and into the stands, tearing into the crowd of hundreds and killing over 80 people, including Levegh. The exact death toll remains in dispute, though most sources estimate that 84 people died in the crash and that well over a hundred were injured. The event led several countries to suspend motor racing and Mercedes to withdraw from motorsport until 1989.

A number of factors were blamed for the accident, including the inadequate safety barriers at the track and the layout of the track itself, which was not designed for the speeds that the 1955 race cars reached.

"My desire to create this film was born from these questions -- the need to find a link that can allow this juxtaposition of imagery to coexist," Baillieux added. "The tendency of man to destroy itself, forgetting its humanity while being consumed by its pride, its passion and feelings is the subject on which I wanted to delve into. It is the basis of my studies and my thoughts -- and my desire to make this film."

As the trailer above demonstrates, many of the racers are depicted in this animated film, which was released in France at the end of June and will be available here later this year.

"I endeavor to explain with empathy how it is possible for the drivers to continue and finish the race despite the tragedy. I wish to restore their humanity and acknowledge the contradictions and the gray areas," Baillieux added in his notes.
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Old 07-20-2018, 04:07 PM
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When Sauber grabbed a young hotshot named Michael Schumacher to drive in its WEC re-badged MBZ sports cars, the company was intent on keeping out of motorsports even then, in the late 80's, early 90's. I knew about that tragedy, I just never knew MBZ stayed out of racing due to that reason until Schu's appearance.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:47 PM
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I'm interested.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Chief F1 Fan View Post
When Sauber grabbed a young hotshot named Michael Schumacher to drive in its WEC re-badged MBZ sports cars, the company was intent on keeping out of motorsports even then, in the late 80's, early 90's. I knew about that tragedy, I just never knew MBZ stayed out of racing due to that reason until Schu's appearance.

Though I didn't realize it was the late 80s, my recollection had me thinking it was mid-80s.
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Old 07-23-2018, 04:27 PM
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1989/90.

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Old 07-24-2018, 12:53 AM
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I just watched "Ferrari: Race to Immortality", which also included the Le Mans tragedy.


It's an okay film. Racing fans will appreciate being taken to a bygone era of extreme danger. I was dissapointed by the film though:

1. Despite the film having the name Ferrari on it, it isn't really about Ferrari, the scuderia, or the man. Enzo Ferrari is not the star or center of the film. False advertisement.
2. So what is the film about? The stars are really Ferrari's English drivers, Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins. Obviously, if the movie was called "Mike & Peter: Race to Immortality," the film would get a lot less interest.
3. There is an extreme Anglo bias. Film is a UK production, so not only are the stars British, and the interviews are largely only from the English that lived through the era. So the angle of movie ignores the other perspective of 50's era, including the Italians.
4. The film's premise paints the era as almost savage with the deaths of the drivers and spectators. It completely ignores the romanticism of that era and what drew people to race these cars.
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Old 07-26-2018, 10:33 AM
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