The Bourne Identity | 2002
- DIRECTOR |
- Doug Liman
The first of the Bourne franchise trots around Europe, supposedly in France and Switzerland but most of the film was shot in Paris and around Prague in the Czech Republic.
The opening scene of amnesiac Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) rescued from the Mediterranean by a fishing crew was filmed, not out in the ocean, but with a boat tied to the harbour of Imperia, on the coast of northwest Italy in the Liguria region (the raging storm was added digitally).
Imperia consists of two historical districts – Porto Maurizio and Oneglia, which lie on either side of the River Impero. Recovering, but still with no memory of his past, it’s at the neighbouring harbour of Oneglia that Bourne is put ashore.
With only the details of a numbered Swiss bank account, Bourne heads to ‘Zurich’. In fact, the city in which he arrives is Prague, and the snowy street on which he he finds himself is 17.listopadu, the road running alongside the Rudolfinum northwest of the Old Town, and which stood in for 'Whitehall, London' in The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
When a couple of Swiss cops hassle him for sleeping on a park bench, he discovers he possesses fearsome combat skills. This 'Swiss' park is Prague’s Kampa Park on Kampa Island, alongside the River Vltava south of the famous Charles Bridge and alongside the 'embassy' location used at the opening of Brian de Palma's 1996 Mission: Impossible, with Tom Cruise.
Bourne's destination is the 'Zurich' bank where he's mystified to discover a stash of money, fake passports and a gun. The 'bank' is Petschkův palác (Petschek Palace), Politických vězňů 20 at Washingtonova, not far from Wenceslas Square and that classical building in the background is Prague's State Opera House on Wilsonova.
Petschek Palace was notoriously used as the Gestapo headquarters during WWII. It was here that courts-martial were established by Reinhard Heydrich, a main architect of the Holocaust, and where members of the Czech resistance were interrogated and tortured. A plaque commemorating the spirit of war heroes can be seen on the corner of the building, which now houses the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Bourne makes his way to the ‘US Embassy’, where he first meets Marie (Franka Potente). The entrance is Panska 7, off Jindřišská in New Town not far from the main railway station.
When he's rumbled and has to make his escape from an upstairs window, this is no longer the Panska location, but the side of what was then a defunct branch of HypoBank. It's since been redeveloped to become the grand Carlo IV Hotel, Senovazne náměstí 13, just to the north of Prague railway station.
The wall down which he makes his escape can be seen in the little arched alleyway alongside the hotel.
It's also at the Carlo IV Hotel that the kids from Midtown Tech find themselves staying after the school-trip itinerary is suddenly changed in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
With the promise of $20,000, Bourne persuades Marie to drive him to Paris and the address on the 'Jason Bourne' passport. The snowy road along which they drive is in the district called Ceska Sibir (Czech Siberia), south of Prague.
Bourne and Marie spend their first night in Paris in the car, parked on the Quai de la Tournelle, on the Left Bank opposite Ile Saint Louis (this is where Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy catch the boat in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset).
Bourne visits his apartment, and discovers that somebody seriously wants him out of the way. Given as “104 rue du Jardin”, the apartment is 104 Avenue Kléber, at rue de Longchamp, just north of Trocadero (Métro: Trocadero).
The ‘Treadstone’ safehouse, in which Nicky (Julia Stiles) receives her instructions, is 2 Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine, above Le Marché restaurant, in the green and usually relaxing 18th century square in the Marais district.
The palatial mansion of dictator Wombosi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), in which he's assassinated by The Professor (Clive Owen), is the former townhouse of Marie-Laure de Noailles, now made over by designer Philippe Starck as HQ of Baccarat (opened in 1764, one of Europe's leading purveyors of full-lead crystal.) at 11, Place des États Unis (Métro: Boissière).
Downstairs is a glittering boutique, upstairs the museum houses show-off pieces made for princes and maharajahs, a painted cabinet by Gérard Garouste, and the distressed-chic Cristal Room, where you can breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Bourne leaves his precious red bag in the luggage lockers at the Gare du Nord and, outside on Place Napoléon III, Marie takes the dangerous option of sticking with him.
The Gare du Nord, one of the six large termini of the main line SNCF network, is supposedly the busiest station in Europe, serving the north of France, as well as international destinations including the United Kingdom, Belgium and The Netherlands. Bourne returns to the station for The Bourne Ultimatum
Bourne and Marie are soon spotted by the police and take off on a high-speed chase through the city. Roaring through Place Vendome, they suddenly and inexplicably find themselves way to the east, in Belleville, where Bourne shakes off the cop cars, if not the bikes, with a reckless turn right from rue du Transvaal into the scarily narrow Passage Plantin.
“We got a bump coming up.” mumbles Bourne, before careering down the steep steps at the end of the passage, to rue des Couronnes. Looking at the width of the steps, you may doubt this but, trust me, it’s true.
In the blink of an eye, it’s over to western Paris, and quai Louis Bleriot, the banks of the Seine south of Pont Mirabeau.
Nevertheless, it’s back in Belleville that the couple hole up in the, now gone, Hotel de la Paix, 4 rue Louis Bonnet, at rue de l’Orillon, just to the south of Belleville metro station.
It’s back to the Czech Republic for the ‘French’ farmhouse, where the couple bring trouble to a family when they're targeted by The Professor, which is in the village of Suchdol, not far from Ruzyne, Prague’s international airport.
Bourne discovers that his alter ego, John Michael Kane, has been staying at the Hotel Regina, 2 Place des Pyramides, facing the Louvre (Métro: Tuileries; Pyramides), where Marie goes on a recce into the hotel’s grand lobby.
It’s in the Jardin des Tuileries opposite, that Marie reveals that – without any of Bourne’s elaborate planning – she’s managed to get Kane’s phone records from the desk clerk.
Armed with this information, Jason Bourne is able to check out ‘Alliance Securite Maritime’ at the gigantic hollow cube of La Grande Arche de la Défense. (Métro: La Défense Grande Arche). The 100-metre-tall arch, built in 1989 west of the city, is the centre of Paris’s business district. Glass-sided lifts will whizz you to the top of the Arch (tickets €9), where there’s a great view to the Arc de Triomphe, a restaurant, gift shop, a museum of computers (mysteriously) and not a lot else.
The bridge on which Bourne sets up a meeting with Treadstone chief, Conklin (Chris Cooper), is Pont Neuf, which – despite its name – is the oldest bridge over the Seine. He watches from the roof of the Samaritaine Building. Once a flagship store, this striking building is closed for the foreseeable future while structural problems are sorted out. Pont Neuf is, naturally, the setting for the 1990 romance Les Amants du Pont Neuf.
The final assassination, which shuts down the whole Treadstone operation once and for all, is on rue de Jarente, behind the safe house.
It’s on the Pont des Arts, alongside the Louvre, that Bourne walks away and mysteriously disappears. The delicate wooden bridge is the scene of the failed suicide attempt in Boudu Sauvé des Eaux, Jean Renoir's 1932 classic (remade by Hollywood as Down and Out in Beverly Hills). It’s also featured in Amélie, and is the bridge from which Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) leaps to save his daughter in Taken.
Bourne finally tracks down Marie to the Greek island of Mykonos, where she’s running a scooter rental business at Sea Satin Market in Little Venice, beneath the island’s famous windmills.