Kamikaze

The film “Kamikaze” (German title: “Kamikaze – TV-Tod live“) by director Didier Grousset, which is available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland via the film label B-Spree Classics, was produced by star director Luc Besson (“Léon“, “Nikita“, “The Fifth Element, “The Big Blue“, “Lucy“, “Anna“).

Synopsis

Albert (Michel Galabru) is fired from his company, although he is a brilliant computer expert. But now he sits around at home, in a flat with his niece and her husband, falls more and more into alcohol and increasingly loses his sanity. After some time, when he has finally succumbed to madness, he begins to focus his abilities on a murderous plan. Albert develops a technology that allows him to send lethal rays through television cameras without even having to be there. He uses this technique to kill television presenters live on screen, one by one. The police put Inspector Romain Pascot (Richard Bohringer) on the case, and soon the noose seems to be tightening around Albert’s neck…

About director Didier Grousset

For the director and screenwriter Didier Grousset, “Kamikaze” from 1986 is his first directorial work. Before that, he worked as a second unit director or assistant director on films such as “Bobo Jacco” (1979), “Uninhibited Eroticism” (1980) and “Subway” (1985). For “Kamikaze” he also participated in the screenplay work alongside Luc Besson and received a nomination for the International Fantasy Film Award in 1988. After this work, Didier Grousset devoted himself exclusively to television and shot countless TV movies and individual episodes of series, none of which have been released in Germany to date. His latest work from 2019 is a series with several seasons called “Plus belle la vie“, in which he depicts the everyday life of some people in a fictional district called Le Mistral.

Unfortunately, little is known about Didier Grousset‘s private life.

About screenwriter and producer Luc Besson

Luc Paul Maurice Besson, as the director, screenwriter and producer’s full name is called, was born in Paris on 18 March 1959. As his parents both worked as diving instructors, Luc Besson spent the first years of his youth in various European countries. Because he was often bored at school, he preferred to write down stories that came to him. This is how he came to write the first drafts of “Intoxication of the Deep” and “The Fifth Element” as a teenager, which he would later bring to the big screen. The Parisian actually wants to devote himself to marine biology and in particular the protection of dolphins, but a diving accident ruins these career plans. But soon after, the Parisian discovered his interest in film, took on various jobs in the industry and applied to the French film school “La Fémis“, but was rejected because it was thought that his directorial idols Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Milos Forman would disqualify Luc Besson for admission to the school.

So in 1983, the jack-of-all-trades shot “The Last Stand“, his first feature film, with superstar Jean Reno in the leading role. In quick succession he then shot “Subway“, “The Big Blue“, “Nikita” and “Léon“, thus already sealing his stardom. This was the only way he was able to get 100 million dollars from the major studios to shoot “The Fifth Element“. The film recouped more than twice the amount spent in the cinemas and for many years was the most commercially successful European film of all time.

Along the way, the successful director also invented the series “Arthur and the Minimoys“, which he filmed himself from 2006. Fortunately for the audience, he discards his plan to stop directing after ten films and retire from the business, otherwise further hits like “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman or “Anna” with Sasha Luss and Helen Mirren would probably never have been made.

After the actresses Anne Parillaud, Maïwenn Le Besco and Milla Jovovich, Luc Besson has been married for the fourth time since 2004 to producer Virginie Besson-Silla, with whom Besson has had the last three of his five daughters.

The film was released in France on December 10, 1986, distributed by Gaumont. On 12 November 1988, the film was released by Warner Home Video on VHS video cassette in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Original title: Kamikaze

Director: Didier Grousset

Screenplay: Luc Besson, Didier Grousset, Michèle Pétin (as Michèle Halberstadt)

Actors & actresses: Richard Bohringer, Michel Galabru, Dominique Lavanant, Romane Bohringer, Etienne Chicot, Harry Cleven, Riton Liebman, Kim Massee, Michael Goldman, Geoffrey Carey, Charles Gérard, Philippe Girard, Vincent Skimenti, Philippe Landoulsi, Jean-Paul Muel, Beate Kopp, Basile de Bodt, Eric Averlant, Jacques Japaud, René Loyon, Laurent Spielvogel, Jean-François Henry, Michel Pilorgé, Gérard Boucaron, Pierre Belot, Henri Delmas, Jean-François Robin, Charles Schneider, Emmanuel Gust, Daniel Koenigsberg, Yannick Evely Yannick Evely, Bernard Ballet, Christine Amat, Annick Fatigon, Yolanda Jilot, Blanche Ravalec, Nathalie Canion, Jean-Philippe Chatrier, Arielle Sémenoff, Thierry Hay, Marie Vincent, Philippe Sfez, Cécile Combe, Bernard Le Roux, Lionel Robert

Producer: Luc Besson, Louis Duchesne, Laurent Pétin

Cinematography: Jean-François Robin

Camera & technical departement: Jean Atanassian, Michel Atanassian, Guy Canu, Ariane Damain, Bruno Delbonnel, Dominique Fourny, Patrick Gasché, Jacques Monge, Patrick Pamart, Noël Véry

Sound: Michel Barlier, Eric Chevallier, Murielle Damain, Marie Guesnier, Gérard Hardy, Katrina Heaulme, Paul Lainé, Gérard Lamps, Alain Lévy, Jérôme, Bernard Marincudraz, Luc Perini, Michel Villain

Editing: Olivier Mauffroy

Makeup: Josseline Blanchet, Joëlle Dominique, Sophie Landry

Costumes: Magali Guidasci, Patricia Desrousseaux

Music: Éric Serra

 

Production companies: ARP Sélection, Les Films du Loup, Gaumont

Year of production: 1986

Genres: Science-Fiction, Thriller

Country: France

Language: French

Synchronisation: German

 

Lenght: 90 Min

Ratling: FSK 18

Aspect ratio: 2,35:1 (35mm Panavision)

Colour: Eastmancolor

Sound Mix: Dolby Stereo

Resolution: Full-HD

Other titles:

German: Kamikaze – TV-Tod live

Swedish: Kamikaze – dödsmaskinen

Russian: Камикадзе

Japanese: 神風

Film label: B-Spree Classics

 

VHS start: 12.11.1988

Blu-Ray/DVD start: 08.04.2022

Soundtrack

Composer Éric Serra wrote and produce the soundtrack for the film. The main piece is the song “The Kabuki Plan“, which was also released on a vinyl single and is sung by Ghida De Palma. Although Éric Serra has hardly achieved stardom so far, he is featured on the soundtracks of many well-known films. Director Luc Besson, for example, repeatedly enlists the Frenchman, born in 1959, for his films. Serra was already involved in “Subway” (the cult film with Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani) from 1985 and contributed two songs. He also made his first and only appearance in front of the camera in this film, playing a bass player. This was followed by cinema hits such as “The Big Blue” (1988), “Léon” (1994), “James Bond 007: GoldenEye” (1995) and in 1997 some of the truly exceptional pieces on the soundtrack of “The Fifth Element“, another hit by star director Luc Besson.

Synchronisation

The German dubbed version was produced by Studio Hamburg on behalf of Warner Germany.

Role Actor German speaker
Romain Pascot Richard Bohringer Peter Lakenmacher
Albert Michel Galabru Harald Halgardt
Policeman Charles Gerard Lothar Gruetzner
Michel Galabru (plays the role of Albert)  

Michel Galabru was born on 27 October 1922 in what is now Morocco. He began his acting career in the classical way at the theatre, to a large extent at the French state theatre Comédie-Française in Paris. In 1949 he appeared for the first time in front of the camera for the film “La bataille du feu“. In 1962 followed a role in the well-known drama “The War of the Buttons” based on the 1912 novel by Louis Pergaud. Galabru’s comic talent, however, brought the Frenchman greater fame and made him very well known. He can be seen in various films with Louis de Funès, in the films of the Gendarme series often as his superior Gerber.

In 1977, Michel Galabru won a “César” for Best Actor for his portrayal of Joseph Bouvier in Bertrand Tavernier‘s film “The Judge and the Murderer” alongside Philippe Noiret and Isabelle Huppert. The actor was nominated twice more for this great film prize, in 1986 for “Subway” and in 1990 for “Uranus“, but he lost both times. Together with his TV roles Michel Galabru managed to impersonate more than 300 different characters until his death after more than 60 years in front of the camera. Yet he played a leading role in very few of the films.

Michel Galabru was married twice and a father of four before he died on 4 January 2016 at the age of 93. In his last film “Ouvert la nuit” with Audrey Tautou, which premiered on 11 January 2017, the Frenchman played himself. Michel Galabru, like a large part of French celebrities from politics and the arts, is buried in the Montmartre cemetery in Paris. His daughter Emmanuelle followed in his footsteps and has been appearing in film and television since 1996.

Filmography (excerpt)
1961 Lafayette
1962 War of the Buttons
1964 The Troops of St. Tropez
1965 Your Money or Your Life
1971 Jo
1976

The Judge and the Assassin

1978 La Cage aux Folles
1980 Le Guignolo
1980

Grandiose Delusions

1981 Choice of Arms
1985

Subway

1990 Uranus
1998 Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar
2008

Welcome to the Sticks

2009

Little Nicholas

2010

Love Like Poison

Richard Bohringer (plays the role of Romain Pascot)
Richard Bohringer was born on 16 January 1942 in Moulins (Allier) in central France. The actor first appeared in the cinema at the age of 18, in a small role in the feature film “Les frangines“. However, he only became famous about 20 years and ten roles later when he played the role of a Gestapo officer in François Truffaut‘s film “The Last Metro” starring Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu. The film became the biggest hit of the 80s and won ten Césars. With absolute cult films like “Diva” (1981), in which Richard Bohringer played his first leading role, and “Subway” (1985), the actor played himself into the Olympus of his industry. He won a “César” for both “The Bill” from 1984 and “The Grand Highway” from 1987. Another highlight in Bohringer’s career was his role as a cook in Peter Greenaway‘s “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” in 1989.

Richard Bohringer is the father of two sons and daughter Romane Bohringer, who acts like her father. The Frenchman is still active and has impersonated more than 150 characters over the last six decades.

Filmography (excerpt)
1970

The House

1977

Animal

1980 The Party
1980 The Last Metro
1981 Diva
1985

Subway

1987

The Man Who Loved Zoos

1989

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

1994 The Smile
1998 Opera Ball
2013 Tied
2015
By the Sea

Romane Bohringer, the daughter of Richard Bohringer, who embodies Inspector Pascot, can be seen in a supporting role. Interestingly, she also mimes his daughter in the film. The actress, born in 1973, was later honoured with a “César” for her leading role in “Wild Nights” alongside Cyrill Collard as most promising young actress“. At the same time, Romane Bohringer only showed all her skills as she matured, as in 1995 in “The Affair of Rimbaud and Verlaine” alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.

Although the basic idea of “Kamikaze” has not been used very often, there are at least two other interesting films that take up this theme. On the one hand, director Giuliano Montaldo made the thriller “The Deadly Circle” in 1978, on the other hand, director Clifford Sanforth created the thrilling crime thriller “Murder by Television” with superstar Bela Lugosi in the male lead as early as 1935.

Comments

“Kamikaze – TV Death Live is definitely a little insider tip – not only for Luc Besson fans!” (Retro-Film.com)

“Co-scripted and produced by Luc Besson (who gave direction to his former assistant), Kamikaze is an ambitious if somewhat thin satire on a society enthralled by the bland production of cinema.” (timeout.com)

“Impressive French film (from a script by Luc Besson) about an unemployed man who gets so annoyed with television announcers that he invents a gun to kill them by remote control…” (filmblitz.org)

“TV Death Live – Kamikaze is a classic B-movie that combines science fiction with a dash of crime and thriller, and it kicks off with an interesting premise. The idea of killing people over the TV while they are in a live programme is clever…” (sofahelden.com)

“I really enjoyed the film, you can tell a top producer was at work, it was Luc Besson. The film has a great ending, is exciting and in my opinion belongs in every collection.” (mediennerd.de)

“Kamikaze – TV Death Live is a futuristic thriller in which Michel Galabru and Richard Bohringer are convincing leads as outlaw and sheriff.” (poenack.de)

Physical equipment and technical data

Limited Mediabook | Total running time Blu-Ray: approx. 90 min.; Total running time DVD: approx. 85 min. | Picture format Blu-Ray: WS 2.35:1 / 1080p 23.976; DVD: WS 2.35:1 (anamorphic) | Sound formats Blu-Ray: German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; DVD: German DD 2.0, English DD 2.0 | Extras: Original trailer, artwork gallery, 16-page booklet | Rating: FSK 18

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