Friday, February 3, 2017

In FIAF's continuing comedy series, Jean Dujardin stars in his international breakout hit, OSS 117: CAIRO, NEST OF SPIES

For nearly a decade now, French actor and international star, Jean Dujardin, has proven his adaptability and versatility in a raft of movies ranging from the satiric/comedic (the OSS films and The Players) to the more serious (the Oscar-winning The ArtistLittle White Lies and The Connection). So it is interesting to go back more than ten years and again view his international breakout hit, OSS 117: CAIRO, NEST OF SPIES, in which the actor struts his stuff in the area of satirical characterization as a utterly pompous idiot trying to replicate a James Bond type of sophisticated action hero.

The movie itself may be repetitive and awfully obvious, but Dujardin (above) is terrific at both physical comedy and sleek, clever satirical characterization. He's a joy to view, as he puts his sexy face and body to work making us forget all about those qualities -- and instead laugh our heads off. The plot, such as it is, has to do with catching naughty Arabs back in the 1950s, and so we get our fill -- thanks to terrific sets, costumes, clothes, cars and the like -- of this time period, done to an absolute fare-thee-well.

As the leading lady, we also get the lovely and spirited Bérénice Bejo (above), plus some crack French supporting actors in the smaller roles. So successful was this film, that it spawned another one -- the less good OSS 117: Lost in Rio -- and that, I think, capped off what many expected to be a franchise à la the continuing Bond films.

As another example of the various kinds of French comedy, this film certainly has its place as satire in the form of a slightly-above-mainstream-level comedy.  And if you have never seen Dujardin in action, this is a prime opportunity to watch, learn, and laugh.

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies will screen this coming Tuesday, February 7, at 4pm and 7:30 at the Florence Gould Hall of FIAF on Manhattan's East 59th Street. For further information and/or tickets, simply click here.

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