Pierre Tchernia’s first solo film, “Le Viager” has an unlikely scenario… but which is nevertheless real since similar cases of the same kind occurred before the feature film. Or even after.
Life annuity : first feature for “Monsieur Cinéma”
Nicknamed “Monsieur Cinéma” via the show of the same name that he hosted in the 60s and 70s, Pierre Tchernia is above all a fan of the seventh art who marked French television. If he had ever worked as a co-director, screenwriter or actor, Life annuity remains, however, his first solo feature film. For the occasion, he is also co-scripting the story with his old friend René Goscinny. A beautiful irony since the latter has caricatured it several times in certain albums ofAsterix and that Pierre Tchernia was himself the voice of the narrator in certain animated feature films of the little Gaul.
Life annuity follows Léon Galipeau (Michel Galabru), a doctor who one day receives a visit from Louis Martinet (Michel Serrault), suffering from serious health problems. According to Galipeau, he only has two years left to live. A great boon for the doctor who wishes to acquire a life annuity in his small country house. Only the years pass and Louis Martinet refuses to die. Galipeau then tried everything for everything… When he left, Life annuity met with public success, bringing together more than 2 million spectators in French cinemas.
Based on real facts ?
Having written part of the script for the film during the train journeys they both made to Brussels to oversee all the stages of production of lucky LukeRené Goscinny and Pierre Tchernia were inspired by a real story, as related TV Star. Indeed, in 1932, a certain Madame Ygouf had sold her house as a life annuity to Monsieur and Madame Mallet. Only the lady continued to live to be over 100 years old, while the buying couple ended up dying.
A few years after the release of Life annuityanother case occurred: that of the famous Jeanne Calment, known at one time to have been France’s oldest woman. Indeed, the latter had sold her house in life to her notary. Unfortunately for the latter, the lady ended up outliving him. Bad business…