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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Oui, Ministre!

Quai D'Orsay (retitled The French Minister for some markets) is a likeable and highly amusing French political farce from director Bertrand Tavernier, perhaps best known for 'Round Midnight. Quai D'Orsay presents the shenanigans within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a wonderfully straight face, while delivering laugh-out-loud moments by the portfolio-ful. Thierry Lhermitte's turn as Minister Alexandre Taillard de Worms is delightfully effective, every bombastic centimetre the Gallic Jim Hacker, with no sense of the events around him, yet, unlike Hacker, he is brimful of arrogant confidence in the face of every disaster. His foil is not a scheming Parisienne Sir Humphrey, but his long suffering chief of staff Claude Maupas, excellently portrayed by Niels Arestrup. Enter Raphaël Personnaz as  the youthful and politically naive Arthur Vlaminkck, then sit back and chortle as young Arthur learns the workings of the ministry the hard way, doing his best to manoeuvre through the eccentricities of the minister's characterful staff. Quai D'Orsay is an enjoyable film with plenty of smiles and laughs, yet at almost two hours, it does begin to feel a bit baggy after the first half, still well worth seeing however.

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