Bertrand Tavernier, you'd be hard pressed to come across a comedy. His newest film, THE FRENCH MINISTER (Quai d'Orsay), which came and went in theaters all too briefly last season, if not quite a full-fledged comedy, is possibly the most endearing and light-footed feature this storied and serious filmmaker has so far given us. There is often humor to be found in Tavernier's films, but here there's a wealth of it, beginning with the title performance by gifted French actor Thierry Lhermitte.
As played by M. Lhermitte (shown below, right), this Minister (of Foreign Affairs) is possibly the most vain and narcissistic fellow in politics on either side of the Atlantic.
Raphaël Personnaz (above, left), Arthur is smart but naive, and pretty much a lamb to some of the lions in this political den.
Julie Gayet (above, right), an actress whose connection with France's current President, François Holland, makes her role and performance all that much more succulent.
Niels Arestrup, above, who nearly steals the movie by never raising his voice amidst the whirlwind -- literally and figuratively -- caused constantly by his boss.
Jane Birkin -- who plays a Nobel Prize-winning author whom our Minister insists on having to lunch -- and Anaïs Demoustier (above, right), who plays Arthus' live-in girlfriend. Ms Birkin always proves a delight; here she is once again, this time with a bit of a barbed edge, while Ms Demoustier is intelligent sweetness personified.
IFC Films, in French with English subtitles and running a very-easy-to-watch 113 minutes, The French Minister can be streamed now via Netflix and elsewhere and is also available on DVD.