The IFI French Film Festival
Thursday, 24th November 2011
(L’Exercice de l’État)
Louise Wimmer had another screening on Friday afternoon at the IFI French Film Festival, followed by Service Entrance also having its second screening. Jean-Marc Moutout’s Early One Morning (De Bon Matin) screened in the evening with a Q&A with Jean-Pierre Darroussin, who plays a middle-aged businessman who starts his day as usual before coolly gunning down a couple of work colleagues; one of the main outcomes coffee prevents.
Friday ended with a screening of The Minister (L’Exercice de l’État), Pierre Schoeller’s fascinating political drama charting a destructive lust for power. Introduced by Michel Ciment, the film follows the exploits of Bertrand Saint-Jean, the Minister for Transport, as he endeavours to hold onto political power, while at the same time staying true to his personal ideals – yet to achieve one he must let go of the other. The film sees a decent man unravel as he gets caught up in the machinations of a political system that chews him up.
Olivier Gourmet puts in a sturdy performance as Bertrand Saint-Jean as a man gobbled up by ambition – unforgettably set out in the film’s opening scene – whose thirst for power destroys his soul, proving once again the first half of Lord Acton’s famous words that ‘power tends to corrupt…’