The French Minister

Feature Film | FR 2013 | 113' | Subtitled English

In February 2003, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin made the case against the impending Iraq war in an eloquent speech before the UN Security Council. It was met with a surge of applause – an unusual gesture in this venue. Based on a comic strip by Christophe Blain, veteran director Bertrand Tavernier’s film is a political satire about the genesis of this speech. Villepin turns into Alexandre Taillard de Vorms in this story – a whirlwind of a politician and overconfident blabbermouth extraordinaire. He loves to treat his employees to the wisdom of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and readily forgoes important obligations when he can wine and dine with a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature instead. QUAI D’ORSAY is equal parts very French – could you imagine e.g. a German Minister who prefers quoting philosophers to quoting statistics? – and very universal: the depiction of everyday office life in the foreign ministry will draw a smile of recognition from anyone familiar with office environments. The film pokes fun at rampant vanity in politics, but does not sell itself so short as to cheaply cater to political apathy: De Vorms may be a windbag and an intellectual impostor, but he talks the talk with passion and pizazz and unquestionable charisma. One of the best political satires in a long time.

Director
Bertrand Tavernier
Script
Antonin Baudry, Christophe Blain, Bertrand Tavernier
Producers
Frédéric Bourboulon, Jérôme Seydoux
Photography
Etienne George
Editor
Guy Lecorne
Sound
Jean-Marie Blondel
Production Design
Emile Ghigo
Costumes
Caroline de Vivaise
Principal Cast
Thierry Lhermitte, Raphaël Personnaz, Niels Ares Trup, Bruno Raffaelli, Julie Gayet, Anaïs Demous Tier

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Selected filmography Bertrand Tavernier

L’HORLOGER DE SAINT PAUL (1974), UN DIMANCHE À LA CAMPAGNE (1984), AUTOUR DE MINUIT (1986), L’APPÂT (1995), IN THE ELECTRIC MIST (2009)