Sometimes controversy is the best publicity. And almost three weeks before its theatrical release in France, Jean Dujardin’s new movie is already garnering a lot of press. Posters for the comedy Les Infidèles (The Players) have been deemed too provocative by the Autorité de Régulation Professionnelle de la Publicité (an organization in charge of regulating publicity) who has advised Mars Distribution to remove them “as a preventative measure” after it received several complaints from unhappy citizens and outraged feminists. Four to be precise, but enough to have the offending images taken down.
The two posters feature Jean Dujardin and co-star Gilles Lellouche in explicit positions committing adultery while lying to their wives about their whereabouts. Lellouche is telling his significant other, “Honey, I’m going to get cut off, I’m going inside a tunnel,’ as a woman is… Oh, just hit the jump to check them out and find out more.
JEAN DUJARDIN POSTER – “I’m going to a meeting”
GILLES LELLOUCHE – “Honey, I’m going to get cut off, I’m going inside a tunnel”
The two actors are also featured on the cover of this month’s issue of Premiere magazine, wearing only the upper half of a suit-and-tie, with their hands covering their private parts.
Les Infidèles is a series of short films set around the theme of male infidelity as seen by seven directors, including Jean Dujardin, The Artist director Michel Hazanavicius, Gilles Lellouche, Emmanuelle Bercot, Fred Cavaye, Eric Lartigau and Alexandre Courtes. Dujardin and Lellouche also star in the movie, as well as Dujardin’s wife Alexandra Lamy, Guillaume Canet, Mathilda May and Sandrine Kiberlan.
ARPP head Stéphane Martin told the French daily Libération that they “would have intervened even without those [four] complaints. There is clearly an explicit sexual representation and it is unacceptable. Plus, the images are degrading to women… These posters don’t respect the rules of our code of the international chamber of commerce. Through these images, the public clearly understands the genre of the movie and its theme, and it’s normal for a publicity campaign to want to get noticed, but it shouldn’t shock. This went a bit too far. Maybe Jean Dujardin wanted to change his image…”
Le Parisien, who broke the story on Thursday, reports that the first wave of controversy hit the web on January 12, when the posters were first revealed. A poll on its website, however, reveals that 59.8% of the French are not shocked.
Quite frankly, I am très choquée that this would happen in the libertine country that is reputed to be la France.
The ARPP’s ethics committee will meet tomorrow to assess the situation and decide whether to censor the campaign. But regardless of their final decision, JC Decaux, the company in charge of the billboards, will begin removing the posters as of Friday morning and replace them by new ones as of next week. If you’re in France, you may want to grab a couple of these posters. On the movie’s Twitter handle @LesInfideles, the producers tweeted a photo, joking, “We took a photo for you because our posters might become collectors’ items.”
The movie will come out in France on February 29. An almost guaranteed box-office hit if Jean Dujardin wins the Oscar for Best Actor. But according to Le Point, his chances of winning may already have been compromised. “All that’s missing is Jean Dujardin being deprived of his Oscar because on this side of the Atlantic, he’s trampled the politically correct America.”