Date(s) - 11/06/2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The French Minister (French: Quai d’Orsay) is a 2013 French comedy film directed by Bertrand Tavernier. Based on “Quai d’Orsay”, a comic strip by Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac, the film takes an initially comedic look at the French Foreign Ministry under Dominique de Villepin but moves into more serious territory as France, in co-operation with Germany, opposes the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
It was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. In January 2014, the film received three nominations at the 39th César Awards, with Niels Arestrup winning the award for Best Supporting Actor.
After graduating from the École nationale d’administration, which trains France’s leaders in the public and private sectors, Arthur Vlaminck lands in a job as a speechwriter in the Foreign Ministry. Existing senior advisers do not welcome a talented newcomer who may become a competitor but his abilities are recognised by the Minister and, most important, by Maupas, the career official heading the department. That said, coming up with the right words for the constantly changing world situation and the constantly changing reactions of the Minister proves no easy task. He gets hastily written drafts past Maupas, and past other senior advisers who rubbish them, only to find that the Minister’s needs have changed. The film ends in February 2003 with a re-enactment of the actual speech by Dominique de Villepin to the UN Security Council, at which he contradicted claims by Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld and argued passionately for disarmament of Iraq but not invasion.
Plot: Alexandre Taillard de Vorms is tall and impressive, a man with style, attractive to women. He also happens to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the land of enlightenment: France. With his silver mane and tanned, athletic body, he stalks the world stage, from the floor of the United Nations in New York to the powder keg of Oubanga. There, he calls on the powerful and invokes the mighty to bring peace, to calm the trigger-happy, and to cement his aura of Nobel Peace Prize winner-in-waiting. Alexandre Taillard de Vorms is a force to be reckoned with, waging his own war backed up by the holy trinity of diplomatic concepts: legitimacy, lucidity and efficacy. He takes on American neo-cons, corrupt Russians and money-grabbing Chinese. Perhaps the world doesn’t deserve France’s magnanimousness, but his art would be wasted if just restricted to home turf. Enter the young Arthur Vlaminck, graduate of the elite National School of Administration, who is hired as head of “language” at the foreign ministry. In other words, he is to write the minister’s speeches. But he also has to learn to deal with the sensibilities of the boss and his entourage, and find his way between the private secretary and the special advisers who stalk the corridors of the Quai d’Orsay – the ministry’s home – where stress, ambition and dirty dealing are the daily currency. But just as he thinks he can influence the fate of the world, everything seems threatened by the inertia of the technocrats.
Cast: Thierry Lhermitte, Raphael Personnaz, Niels Arestrup
Comedy| 1h54 | France
French with English subtitles
Location: AF Auditorium
Entry: Free and Open to All !!
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