The French Minister (Quai D’Orsay)

BBB

(out of 5)


Raphael Personnaz graduates from the School of Administration and gets a very important job as the speechwriter for France’s foreign minister (Thierry Lhermitte).  Equal to the task and ready to serve, Personnaz is immediately thrust head first into a world of egos at war, with the big boss spouting a lot of mad drivel and forcing the young man to keep rewriting his speeches over and over again while special advisor Niels Arestrup, in a wonderfully understated performance, is the one who really keeps things rolling along at the office.  Based on the Quai D’Orsay comic strip by Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (pseudonym for Antonin Baudry, upon whose experiences working for Dominique de Villepin it was based), this comedy focuses on the months leading up to the speech made by the French foreign minister at the United Nations and the madness behind its seemingly impressive polish in the end result.  Bertrand Tavernier directing the sort of thing you usually expect from Armando Iannucci yields a strange result, an amusingly droll but never outright hilarious satire in which a bunch of energetic performances are set within Tavernier’s casual framing and drawn out style of plotting.  Personnaz makes a wonderful hero, particularly his scenes with Anais Demoustier that show their wonderful chemistry (which they would share again in Ozon’s The New Girlfriend), but Lhermitte is a surprising disappointment as the titular character.  What should have been a male Miranda Priestley with a much crazier edge is the kind of performance you get more often in a Funny or Die clip than a movie, his big gestures and shallow delivery of dialogue robbing the film of any deeper rumination on political themes.


Little Bear, Pathé, France 2 Cinéma, CN2 Productions, Alvy Développement, Canal+, Ciné+, Site 4 View Productions

France, 2013

Directed by

Screenplay by Abel Lanzac, Christophe Blain, Bertrand Tavernier, based on the comic book Quai d’Orsay-Chroniques Diplomatiques by Abel Lanzac, Christophe Blain

Cinematography by Jerome Almeras

Produced by Frederic Bourboulon, Jerome Seydoux

Music by Philippe Sarde

Production Design by Sibilla Patrizi

Costume Design by Caroline de Vivaise

Film Editing by Guy Lecorne


Toronto International Film Festival: 2013


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s