October 1954. In a week's time, Pondicherry will end its history as a French colony and join the recently independent nation of India. Despite the town's sleepy aspect, the "white city" conceals a certain turmoil. Behind the high white walls of the beautiful colonial houses, invaded by the exuberance of tropical vegetation, the French colonists are preparing for their final departure...
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"At the edge of a lake, fragments of skull emerge from the ashes of a pyre. A sedan chair is decked with flowers. All around people look grave. This is an Indian funeral but then comes the final clap and everyone bursts out laughing. Charles Aznavour who wasn't in the scene, limps across the dusty road, imitating Sarah Bernhardt with her wooden leg. And so one witnesses a succession of tragic scenes from the story and moments of waiting and relaxation, ideal for fooling around. We are a few kilometres from Pondicherry. In the distance, the women are drying the saris that they have just washed in the lake, bullock carts move slowly, vintage cars pass laden down with all kinds of objects, hundreds of Indian extras smile, happy to be there, and quietly follow orders. A noisy and joyous confusion reigns between two shots. Bernard Favre calmly directs this major scene in the film: the departure of the French colonists in October 1954 before Pondicherry was returned to the young India nation. The heat is unbearable. People drink litres of tea. Beneath a parasol, Charles Aznavour talks of his memories and makes up rhymes. It's his favourite pastime and it has become a contagious game for the young actors around him. That evening, Charles Aznavour introduces his film, "Un taxi pour Tobrouk", at the Alliance Française for an Indian audience. We are all with him. It was an extraordinary, timeless, indefinable day... In Pondicherry, the last French trading-post in India." (Nicole Cornuz-Langlois, cinema reporter with France 2)