Michel Royer, Karl Zéro :: France :: 2005 :: 1h30
Satirical archive portrait of Jacques Chirac’s political career, hopping from his time as major of Paris, to prime minister to president. Commented footage from the last 40 years or so, where the voice-over plays the role of the thoughts of Jacques Chirac, as a cynical couch self-analysis of his first-of-the-class thirst for power.
At the first glance, it looks like a film constructed by someone who spends too much time in the cellar of TF1 or some other TV station, and at the second glance, that he did not spend enough time there. There are some wonderful photographical moments of him interacting with others, as of course there would be with a career spanning the decades, but the incompleteness is just as striking. A movie, which is sold as such, can be expected to require a little more work than just sailing on the archival property of a public figure. The depth of analysis is done with the level we have come to expect from TV journalism, selecting a target and not looking much further, but does that justify a movie? If we crawl ‘under the skin’ of Jacques Chirac, could we not expect some completeness of the portrait? The French press developed a tradition of wetting the appetite of the public but never delivering, which keeps the public buying their papers and tuning in, because they want to know, be informed, but are mostly deceived. Cinema, even satirical, is mostly been spared of this consumerist cycle, as it should be. On the overlap of the tug-of-war between entertainment and art, cinema -contrary to the French press- is expensive, and should deliver to match.
At the heart of this portrait, we find that same journalistic core: incomplete, easy and a little bland. But all that being said, the movie is funny and it is pleasant to pass some time in the archives, but it should be aired with the rest of its kind – on television.