It is rare for a president to see his life adapted to the big screen while he is still in office. George W Bush had the honors with Oliver Stone’s W in 2008, and equally controversial French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s political life is now the subject of La Conquête (The Conquest).
Described as a thriller, it follows his ambitious rise to power. La Conquête recounts the events between April 27, 2002 and May 6, 2007 and follows Nicolas Sarkozy’s political career, thirst for power and concludes with his ultimate conquest: the presidency of France. (His other conquest, Carla Bruni, came months later.) Hit the jump for more details, photos and the trailer.
Producers Eric and Nicolas Altmayer initially wanted François Ozon (Swimming Pool, Potiche) to helm the film, but they finally chose Xavier Durringer. Patrick Rotman, a well-known writer of political documentaries, has penned the screenplay.
Denis Podalydès dons a wig and plays a very convincing Sarko, as the French call him. He is nervous, impulsive and ambitious – very much how people imagine Sarkozy to be. His political career and election were also marked by his ex-wife, Cecilia Sarkozy (Florence Pernel). The other actors’ resemblance with the politicians they depict is also striking. Samuel Labarthe could easily be mistaken for a real-life Dominique de Villepin, former French PM during Jacques Chirac’s term in office and Sarkozy’s rival in the 2007 election. Bernard Lecoq and Michèle Moretti play the former President and First Lady Bernadette Chirac. Saida Jawad is the former Minister of Justice Rachida Dati, another controversial figure from Sarkozy’s camp.
Some of the performances may seem like caricatures, but that may be due to the trailer. From what I’ve heard, the movie promises to be grittier. These couple of lines alone are worth the admission price:
“And don’t forget, I’m a Ferrari. When you open the hood, you have to wear white gloves.”
Check it out below (in French and sans subtitles):
While L’Elysée, the presidential palace, has not commented on the movie, everyone is wondering what Monsieur le Président’s reaction will be, and above all, will it bear any influence on the next presidential election in May 2012?
Distributed by Gaumont, La Conquête will hit French theaters just a year before that fateful date, on May, 11 2011.
Photo credit: Gaumont. Click on any image for high -resolution