On this Fourth of July weekend, when we're celebrating our nation's birth and our breakaway from the mother country, let's stop to recognize an early ally, France, and celebrate two inventions that weren't around when the Declaration of Independence was signed: 35mm movie cameras and very fast cars.
For his short film "C'etait un Rendezvous" (1976), filmmaker Claude Lelouch strapped a camera to the front of a car and tore through the streets of Paris at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.
Shot in a single take, the eight-minute film hurls the viewer through the early morning light on the Champs Elysees, where all is still except for the roar of screeching tires and shifting gears. Red lights and one-way street signs are ignored; pedestrians who are quick get out of the way.
It's a high-octane tour along the Seine, past the Opera, ending up at Sacre-Coeur in Montmarte.
Lelouch himself drove, and revealed in a making-of documentary that the soundtrack was actually a Ferrari (the Mercedes 450SEL used in filming doesn't have 5 gears).