Yo Yo

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Yo Yo
Yoyo film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Pierre Étaix
Produced by Paul Claudon
Written by Jean-Claude Carrière
Pierre Étaix
Starring Pierre Étaix
Claudine Auger
Luce Klein
Philippe Dionnet
Music by Jean Paillaud
Cinematography Jean Boffety
Edited by Henri Lanoë
Distributed by Carlotta Films
Release date
  • 19 February 1965 (1965-02-19)
Running time
95 minutes
Country France
Language French

Yo Yo, original title Yoyo, is a 1965 French comedy film by Pierre Étaix. The story follows the son of a millionaire from the 1920s to the 1960s. After losing his fortune in the stock-exchange crash, he teams up with an equestrienne and becomes a circus clown. The film was entered into the 1965 Cannes Film Festival.[1]


Yo Yo is the son of a 1920s billionaire who, although having everything he fancies and living in a cavernous old castle, is not happy, fancying the simple life of a beautiful circus actress. When the stock-exchange crashes, rendering him both poor and free, he joins the circus where his love interest is performing, and falls madly in love. They have a son who starts in the circus as a clown but later becomes a successful actor and uses his new wealth to buy back his father's castle.


Étaix as Yo Yo in 2012
  • Pierre Étaix as Yoyo / the millionaire
  • Claudine Auger as Isolina
  • Philippe Dionnet as Yoyo as a child
  • Luce Klein as the equestrienne
  • Siam as a clown
  • Pipo as a clown
  • Dario as a clown
  • Mimile as a clown
  • Martine de Breteuil as Madame de Briac
  • Roger Trapp as Leroy


The film was released in French cinemas on 19 February 1965.[2] It competed at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival, where it received the OCIC Award.[3] It was released in the United States on 28 February 1967 through Magna Pictures Distribution.[4]


The film received some harsh reviews in France, which affected Étaix's next film, As Long as You've Got Your Health.[5] Jean-Luc Godard included Yo Yo on his top-ten list of the best films of 1965.[6] The American comedian Jerry Lewis saw the film during a visit to France and enjoyed it so much that he asked to meet its creator. A French television team that had been appointed to interview Lewis captured the meeting, where the two comedians, limited by the language barrier, made impressions of each other's comedy routines and improvised clown acts together. Lewis later cast Étaix in his own unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried.[5]

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times reviewed the film upon the American release:

Mr. Etaix is marvelously talented. He is a master of subtle mimicry, and he plays all sorts of charming little incidents with great sensitivity and wit. ... But that's the trouble with his picture. It's too casual, fragmented and loose. It's as though Mr. Etaix were writing his script as he goes along, tossing in scenes he remembers from somebody else's film, letting himself do something (he also plays several minor roles without taking credit for them) more to display his virtuosity than to develop a story and character.[7]

In 2007, Time Out London described the film as "possibly the best of Etaix's features", and wrote that "Etaix has just enough astringency to keep sentimentality at bay, and his mastery of the sight gag amply justifies Jerry Lewis' enthusiasm for the film, which is singularly beautifully shot by Jean Boffety."[8]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Yo Yo". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  2. ^ "Yoyo" (in French). UniFrance. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  3. ^ "Yoyo". FilmAffinity. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  4. ^ "Yo Yo (1965)". TCMDB. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  5. ^ a b Cairns, David (2013-04-23). "The Return of Etaix". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  6. ^ Brody, Richard (2012-10-19). "The Return of Pierre Étaix and Le Grand Amour". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016-03-07. 
  7. ^ Crowther, Bosley (1967-03-01). "Yoyo (1965)". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-03-06. 
  8. ^ TM (2007-05-12). "Yoyo". Time Out London. Retrieved 2016-03-06. 

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