Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning eponymous novel by Anthony Doerr, Netflix’s ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is a historical war drama series created by the duo of Steven Knight and Shawn Levy. Set at the height of World War II, the plot revolves around two teenagers — Marie-Laure and Werner Pfennig. While the former, who is blind, and her family escape to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo with the most valuable yet dangerous jewel from the Museum of Natural History, Werner lives in a German mining town and is forced to fight for the Nazi Regime.
Soon, the paths of Marie-Laure and Werner Pfennig cross in occupied France during the last days of the Second World War. The cast of the drama show includes the names of some brilliant actors, including Aria Mia Loberti, Louis Hofmann, Mark Ruffalo, Lars Eidinger, Hugh Laurie, and Marion Bailey, whose compelling performances elevate the quality of the narrative one step further and keep the viewers hooked through each episode. Although the story is set in France and Germany, the Netflix production is filmed in a bunch of different locations.
All the Light We Cannot See Filming Locations
‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is filmed in France, Hungary, and Germany, especially in Saint-Malo, Aveyron, Budapest, Soponya, and Berlin. According to reports, principal photography for the inaugural iteration of the war series got underway in March 2022 and continued for the following four months or so, before getting wrapped up in July of the same year.
Since ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is set in Saint-Malo, the production team utilizes the actual locales of the historic port city to tape several key portions of the series. For instance, 4 Rue Vauborel and the surrounding areas feature in several scenes. During an interview with Variety, the co-creator, Shawn Levy, talked about the significance of shooting on location. He said, “When you shoot in the real place where the real history happened, you get an authenticity that you can’t replicate on a soundstage or with any visual effects.”
A significant portion of ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is also lensed in France’s Aveyron, which is a department in the region of Occitania. In particular, the commune of Villefranche-de-Rouergue serves as one of the primary production locations as it stands in for Saint-Malo. Given its ancient central square, 1940s-style narrow streets, and compact urban planning, Villefranche-de-Rouergue is reminiscent of the terrains of Saint-Malo of yesteryear, making the commune a suitable alternative for the port city.
As the cast and crew members set up camp in the French commune for a couple of weeks in July 2022 for the production of the debut season, they recorded many pivotal street scenes, bombing scenes, and scenes of the liberation of Saint-Malo. While the former Blanc aéro factory, which is now LISI AEROSPACE on Rue de la Murette, ZA de la Glèbe in La Rouquette, is utilized for shooting several important scenes, numerous shop windows are recreated in the style of the 1940s. For instance, the filming unit does the transformation on rue Montlauzeur, Reyniès arcades, Alphonse de Poitiers arcades, rue Saint-Jacques, rue Prestat, rue Bories, and across the square de la Fontaine. Moreover, Place Notre-Dame serves as yet another key filming site for ‘All the Light We Cannot See.’
For shooting purposes, the production team of ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ also travels to Hungary and makes the most of its versatile landscapes. Several key scenes for the historical show are lensed in and around the capital — Budapest. Home to some noteworthy buildings showcasing a wide range of styles and different time periods, Budapest serves as the ideal host for the production of a series like ‘All the Light We Cannot See.’ Furthermore, the filming unit traveled outside of Budapest to the village of Soponya to tape some additional portions for the Louis Hofmann starrer.
The shooting for some prominent sequences is also carried out in the capital of Germany — Berlin. Apart from ‘All the Light We Cannot See,’ the city has hosted the production of various movies over the years. Some of the notable ones include ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ ‘The Monuments Men,’ ‘Valkyrie,’ ‘Bridge of Spies,’ ‘The Book Thief,’ and ‘Black Book.’
Read More: Is All the Light We Cannot See a True Story?