Ok, so it wasn’t quite a riot, but it was a bit rough.
We went early–very early–as this was the closing film of the series and Bernard Tavernier would be there to answer questions. The French Minister is known in France as Quai D’Orsay, well-known as the seat of government. We arrived at the Walter Reade, one of my favorite movie theaters (comfy seats, no screaming previews, no commercials),
climbed up (why am I always climbing stairs?)
where a Rendez-Vous poster confirmed that we were in the right place.
and as they grew, people jostled for a space on line. Only then did we realize we didn’t also have a number. Thanks to a quick-thinking manager who wrote our numbers on our tickets, we did get in but it was a close thing and what I have noticed before is that when it comes to art,
New Yorkers give no quarter.
The film, based on a graphic novel by Antonin Baudry, who had served under several French Ministers as a communications officer, was given an absurdist treatment by Tavernier–light, satirical and fast. There wasn’t too much plot underpinning the film, mostly humorous character portraits, and only at the end did we learn that the chaos resulted in an eloquent UN speech given by Dominique de Villepin against the Iraq War.
Tavernier wanted us to know that although the treatment was satiric, he didn’t want any of the actors to perform in a tongue-in-cheek style, but rather take it seriously. All in all, in spite of the crowds, it was a great day.
You have to get these tickets well in advance as there is a huge audience in New York–both Francophone and English-speaking–who love to go, us included. I admit it–I’m a Francophile, loving French food, wine, film, theater, literature and of course, France itself. Member and senior tickets are discounted.