"I would see in my dreams
the cheerful fishermen's world...
the small shady bars along the wharves,
and the fresh ladies from Marseille
behind their stalls full of shells...". Marcel Pagnol
Of course, Marseille is Marcel Pagnol's city.
There he spent most of his childhood and adolescence. He left the city for four years, only to come back to it and shoot films that would give eternal fame to the Vieux Port: Marius (1931), Fanny (1932), César (1936). In 1933, he created the laboratories, then the Studios Marcel Pagnol, on impasse Jean Mermoz behind the famous Prado avenue. There he lived and worked with his team of actors and technicians.
The declaration of war caused a rush to the city of artists running away from the German occupation zone. All were warmly welcomed by Marcel and his friends. The laboratory was the only one of its kind in the "unoccupied zone" and was used to, among other purposes, broadcast news bulletins meant to talk the American government into joining war. Marcel, who wanted to create a "Cinema City" ("Cité du Cinéma"), then purchased the estate and Château de La Buzine (located in Marseille eleventh district).
Unfortunately, the project never came into being.
But Pagnol always remained deeply attached to this place where he developed his skills and which favored the outburst of his cinematic genius in a friendly and brotherly cheerful environment.