The cars seen in the movie were not around at the time Mitterand was President. See more »
After me, the accountants
A leading politician for almost 50 years, from the dark days of the Vichy, through the De Gaulle era into the 1990s, Mitterand finally grasped the crown of the French presidency only to find that he had prostrate cancer with a short time to live. His father had succumbed in 2 years to the same disease.
Mitterand struggled on for the whole fourteen years of his two terms as President but in the twilight months of office he makes a strange invitation to young journalist Georges-Marc Benamou, a Jew, to write his memoirs. Benamou is fascinated by the contrasts. Mitterand came from the right, in the 1930s he was a member of a fascist group that protested about immigrants. Benamou wants to find out about Mitterand's murky war years when the President worked for Petain's collaborationist Vichy regime. He finds out that no-one in France, least of all the President, wants to look at this time too closely.
Mitterand still holds a fascination for France. The man who betrayed the right to become a committed socialist, made the left wing electable and then presided over France almost like Louis the XIVth. His first couple of years were marked by radical reform, crisis, retrenchment then a long period of stagnation under cohabitation with a right wing government. But his period in office reminds people of a "temps perdu" of certainty before globalization and it maybe this reason why the cinema was nearly full on a cold Tuesday afternoon.
The film tells us less than we know, certain controversial parts of Benamou's book, such as the last New Year supper where Mitterand gobbles down Ortolan, are left out although the President's half brother, the actor Roger Hanin, recently confirmed the veracity of these events. Michel Bouquet portrayal of the declining days of Mitterand is excellent. It is almost painful to watch and the other characters are superb.
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