Prince Harry unwitting star of French comedy

A French actress climbed the gates of Kensington Palace in high heels, interrupted the changing of the guard and spent two nights in a British jail as she secretly filmed a comedy about a Parisian desperate to marry Britain's Prince Harry.

Prince Harry unwitting star of French comedy
Photo: Screengrab from the trailer "Connasse: Princesse des coeurs"

The movie 'Connasse: Princesse des coeurs' ('The Parisian bitch') has seen long queues outside French cinemas as over 500,000 rushed to see the comedy –  filmed entirely by hidden camera – in its first week, according to film distributor Gaumont.

The story revolves around an insufferable Parisian woman, played by Camille Cottin, who has just turned 30 and decided she is sick of using public transport, paying taxes or any of the daily grind faced by mere mortals.

Shamelessly speaking her mind at every turn she heads for London to marry – what the film's blurb describes as "the last bachelor prince who is not deformed (even if he is a redhead) and who is the right age: Prince Harry."

Faced with cars driving the wrong way, the curious English tradition of chit-chatting about the weather and a complete incomprehension of basic manners, the would-be royal has her task cut out for her as she hunts down the real-life prince and fifth in line to the throne.

To get the sketches she needed for the film, Cottin was prepared to go to any lengths, such as climbing the gate of Kensington Palace.

She expected this to be the hardest part, but it proved much easier than she thought.

"I was afraid of being arrested before even putting a toe on the gate and it would go belly up because visually that isn't very funny," she told cinema website Allocine.

"But I stayed there for 10 minutes yelling 'Harry, Harry' – the police didn't hear anything."

When they did arrive, demanding she get down, she asks them: "Can you open the door? I need to fetch Harry."

And, as she and the directors had hoped, she was eventually dragged off to the police station.

The actress spent a second night in prison after striding into the middle of the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace as her character tries to prove she could work as their choreographer in a bid to win Harry's heart.

"Who is the choreographer who told you to do this crap," she yells while striding between the horses in what her directors described as one of the most difficult scenes to set up.


Banned from changing of the guard

Fearful of being stopped from filming any more scenes, she told the police she was acting out a dare for a bachelorette party.

"But I am now banned from the Horse Guards in London," she told news website Metronews.

Her character hires a real etiquette coach — who she tests to the limits by demanding a straw to drink her tea — and even steals a panicked dogwalker's corgi in an effort to win over her future mother-in-law.

Cottin is well-known in her home country for her "Bitch" mini-series starring the same obnoxious character doing hidden camera sketches around Paris.

Her film, the first of its kind in France, has received mixed reviews with some raving about a "breath of fresh air" in French cinema while others say her bid to transfer her sketch format to the big screen falls flat.

The movie is currently out in Switzerland and Belgium where it has received "very good results" and it will be presented to foreign buyers at the Cannes film festival next week, Cecile Gaget, head of Gaumont, told AFP.

Cottin said she was obliged to show the movie to British lawyers who "loved it".

But it is unclear whether the prince is even aware he is starring in the movie.

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French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.