Directed by Bertrand Tavernier, this razor-sharp satire of politics—both those enacted on the world stage and within the corridors of workplaces—originated in first-hand experience: The film is adapted from graphic novels written by Antonin Baudry, who worked as a speechwriter for Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister during the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. (Baudry co-wrote the screenplay with Tavernier and Christophe Blain, who illustrated the books.) As the Baudry surrogate, Raphaël Personnaz plays Arthur, recently hired by the imperiously named, high-ranking diplomat Alexandre Taillard de Worms (Thierry Lhermitte), a man who speaks in orotund outbursts. These thickets of words, which grow more hilarious and nonsensical as the film progresses, combine egregious clichés, lofty quotations from the sages of ancient Greece, and impenetrable bureaucrat-speak. As Arthur scrambles to figure out just what, exactly, his highly capricious boss wants from him, the crisis in “Lousdemistan” (clearly a stand-in for Iraq) deepens. The new hire must also contend with the petty office squabbling of his territorial colleagues and their bids for power; meanwhile, the overweening Alexandre quite literally creates chaos wherever he goes.
With its broad performances, rapid-fire pacing, and rampant visual and verbal gags, Bernard Tavernier’s first out-and-out comedy doesn’t try too hard to hide its graphic-novel origins.
—Kenji Fujishima, Slant Magazine
Bertrand Tavernier, Christophe Blain, and Antonin Baudry. From the graphic novel by Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac
Alexandre Taillard de Vorms: Thierry Lhermitte
Arthur Vlaminck: Raphaël Personnaz
Claude Maupas: Niels Arestrup
Stéphane Cahut: Bruno Raffaelli
Valérie Dumontheil: Julie Gayet
Marina: Anaïs Demoustier
Best Supporting Actor, Niels Arestrup – César Awards (2014); Official Selection – Toronto International Film Festival (2013)
RUNNING TIME 113 min
PRODUCTION France 2013
FORMAT(S) DCP, DVD
IFC Films / Sundance Selects
$350 to $500 pending format
*Fees for screening rights are negotiable and may depend on: format, size of screening room, whether admission will be charged, etc. Check with each distributor and make sure to mention your participation in Tournées in your negotiation.